Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk
2nd March 2014
With Ash Wednesday approaching, it is
good for us to reflect a little on the reality of Lent, and
what it should mean for us.
As I have been stressing over the last
few weeks, all we do as Catholics must have its final goal
in the growth of virtue so we may grow in the love of God.
Virtue is the fulfillment of human existence and the path
that liberates us to live as the children of God. In order
to practice virtue we must be able to listen and follow the
Voice of God. Only in hearing are we able to arrive at
freedom. And this is what our Lenten observance has its end,
namely the ability to allow the voice of God to penetrate
our hardened hearts.
It is good for us to recall that our
Lenten discipline should consist of three parts:
1. Corporal or External Fast -
including the abstinence from certain foods, drinks and
amusements, i.e. music and parties during Lent. These points
of fast should be stressed today especially with the mania
of entertainment besetting our society.
2. Spiritual or Internal Fast -
which consists of abstinence from "all evil" - sin.
Saint John Chrysostom taught that the "value of fasting
consists not so much in abstinence from food but rather in
withdrawal from sinful practices." And Saint Basil the Great
explains: "Turning away from all wickedness means keeping
our tongue in check, restraining our anger, suppressing evil
desires, and avoiding all gossip, lying and swearing. To
abstain from these things - herein lies the true value of
3. Spiritual Change - the practice of
virtues and good works must be the main objective of our
fasting. The Fathers of the Church insisted that during Lent
the faithful attend the Lenten church services and daily
Since today the observance of the Lent is
but mere formalism, reduced to abstinence on certain days
and without any stress on one's spiritual growth or the
amending of one's life style, it is urgent that we return to
the pristine spirit of the Great Fast which is so badly
needed in our materialistic world.
"Behold, now is the acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation." (II Cor 6; 2.)