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February 23, 2012

Fidelity & Lent


Desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”
- Matt. 6:33 (Common English Bible)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
- Matt. 6:21

God is not concerned with our comfort. God wants our allegiance, our loyalty, our fidelity. The inspiration behind this piece comes from readings on St. Anthony (251-356 C.E.) and the Desert Fathers, prominent leaders and pillars of our faith, who, through their lives of asceticism, experienced the Lord in profound ways and blessed visitors from all over the world in extraordinary ways.

Asceticism is defined as: severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons. God doesn’t just bless us by giving us more things.
Most often we experience God’s greatest blessings when those things are taken away.

-Enter Lent-

Lent is the period preceding Easter that, in the Christian Church, is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes forty weekdays.

Sometimes we need the peripheral things in our lives stripped away in order to focus more clearly on what is the truly important.

-Enter Fasting-

As humans, we are lovers of ourselves thrown here and there at the whim of every desire. Yet, God wants us to be faithful - he wants our desire and affection. Love, as a feeling, is ever changing, but commitment is the glue to a successful, loving relationship. “Remain in my love” (John 15:9b).

If you are practicing Lent this year by fasting from some thing of comfort, may you experience the closeness of the Lord in a new way you never have before. May you experience the profound and holy pride that the saints wrote about when they said, “... as servants of the Lord we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech…always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor. 6:4-10).

Is 40 days really that long to make a commitment to the Lord? If you love him, stay with him.  


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