There are three essential disciplines leading us further in the journey of spiritual transformation: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Finding goodness lives in the space of healthy boundaries (fasting) and giving to others (almsgiving).
Our appetite for food and drink are so pressing, so elemental, that, unless they are quelled and disciplined, they will simply take over the soul. They are like children who clamor constantly for attention and who, if indulged, will in short order run the house. I often find myself in this space. This is when I become spiritually sleepy or lazy. I’m learning this is a signal I need to pray more.
If my passion for God is to be awakened, I need healthy boundaries and my desires must be muted, and this is the purpose of fasting. When I go hungry and thirsty, my deepest hunger and thirst can be felt. In a way, fasting is like the “calming of the monkey mind” affected by the rosary: both are means of settling the superficial mind that darts from preoccupation to preoccupation.
But food and drink are not the only objects of my desire. Material things and wealth are also ready substitutes for the passion for God. Thus, a kind of fasting from what money can buy is an important practice. How often Jesus recommends that his disciples give to the poor, and how often throughout the Christian tradition has almsgiving been emphasized. When I live close to these spiritual disciplines, I’m living a just and right life. I’m making space in my inner room for God to touch my heart and keep it soft from the hardness of the world. I gain the spiritual rewards, growing in wholeness and holiness.
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.Matthew 6:1
Thank you Lord for drawing me to seek Your goodness.