Grace to you!
On Day 3 of Lent, I reflect on how the practice of humility helps us to be detached, generous, and self-sacrificing.
You know it is easy to hold onto power and wealth. Just like some in the study of self-identity theory suggest, we tend to attach ourselves to what we possess. We buy a particular brand of product for ourselves, and those seem to be our ways of extending our self-image. Or rather, what we buy and possess seem to be a way of expressing our values. In some ways, they reflect our identity.
We hang out with a certain kind of people and not another because, often, those persons validate or relate to the image we have of ourselves. Deep in our hearts, we spiritually hoard what we have. We hold onto our friends or contacts. We get attached in some ways to our wealth and our creative products and services. These are not necessarily bad. They are, in many ways, essential to building a stable lifestyle, system, and social structure. We need that stability in life.
However, hanging onto things may be a stumbling block to service to others. Letting go of some of those things to benefit the wider society could be challenging to do. It takes a humble and sacrificing heart to let go to build others. It takes a humble heart to take the second seat and commit precious time and talents in developing others.
In every true fasting and almsgiving, we are routinely offering something valuable to us for someone else. We learn from Scripture how the welcome fast is not merely abstaining from food. It is the giving up of something for others. It is a letting go of what is precious to us for a higher cause.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am” (Is 58:6-9).
I pray that we positively give something, offer something to promote a better world, a better society. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday After Ash Wednesday. Reading: Is 58:1-9; Mt 9:14-15]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections for the season of Lent your individual spiritual edification. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations. .