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Fasting and Almsgiving [Awakening Faith]
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)
Dear friends, what the Christian should be doing at all times should be done especially now with even greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast directed by the apostles may be fulfilled not simply by abstinence from food, but moreover by the renunciation of sin.
There is no better companion practice to holy and spiritual fasting than almsgiving. This merciful virtue includes many excellent works of devotion, so that the good intentions of all the faithful
may be of equal value, even where their means are not. The love we ought to have for God and people is a love that frees us from idleness and overcomes any obstacles that get in the way of our good intentions. The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth” (Luke 2:14). The person who shows love and compassion to those in any kind of affliction is blessed not only with the virtue of good will, but also with the gift of peace.
The works of mercy are innumerable. Their very variety brings this advantage to those who are true Christians, that with almsgiving not only the rich and affluent but also those of average means and the poor are able to play their part. Those who are unequal in their capacity to give can be equal in the love and generosity within their hearts.
Leo the Great
Awakening Faith: Daily Devotionals from the Early Church
by James Stuart Bell and Patrick J. Kelly
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