Perhaps most notable is the act of fasting. While Catholics are asked to fast on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during the Lenten season, many people—religious or not—take up this discipline during the year.
Pope Francis has asked all of humanity to reexamine the heart of this activity this Lenten season. According to Francis, fasting must never become superficial. He often quotes the early Christian mystic John Chrysostom who said: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”
This isn’t to downplay the role of sacrifice during the Lenten season. Lent is a good time for penance and self-denial. But the Pope would remind us that these activities must truly benefit others.
Know you are blessed,