“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” – Dorothy Day
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Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke? Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh?
In the Christian tradition, Lent is a time of fasting.
It is a time to remember the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before he began his ministry in earnest.
It is a time when Christians are to supposed to also spend time in a metaphorical desert to practice self-denial and fasting.
The purpose of the self-denial was not meant to be gaining favor with God!
God already loves you infinitely!
The point was that through your self-denial, as in the ego’s self-centered desires, that you would be better able to manifest God’s desires.
You would be better able to act out of your true self in sharing the Unconditional Love that you’ve been so freely given.
If such self-denial only makes you grouchy and mean, then you’d be better off not doing it.
If the self-denial is done as a badge of honor, as a way for the ego to take pride, then it is also a complete failure.
As God spoke in the scripture through the prophet Isaiah, any fasting or self-sacrifice is meant to get you out of the way, as in your egotistical self, so that you are open and free enough to see the needs of others and then to respond.
(A good way to practice “letting go and letting God” is the Christian form of meditation known as Centering Prayer.)
The importance of serving others cannot only be taught at the intellect level, although that’s important and many times sadly lacking.
Serving others is not usually spawned by an act of the brain, but of the heart.
Your self-denial’s revelation of the needs of others is meant to warm and transform your heart.
May the unconditional love of the Holy One inflame our hearts to channel love and mercy to all people, especially the least of these.
Listen to the song of the day “Pour Me Out” on the Give Praise and Thanks album by clicking HERE.
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Purchase my new book “Listen to Your Heart: A Daily Devotional of Calling, Purpose and New Life” on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Remember: God loves you!