Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” vs. 1Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
For some believers, the season of Lent is a time for serious reflection on faith and its implications for daily living. They cherish the opportunity to retreat from some of their usual distracting activities by adopting one or more disciplines. Often thought of as “giving something up for Lent,” such exercises can also include “doing something for Lent.” As such they could include the acts of piety mentioned by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, i.e., giving alms, praying, or fasting. Any or all of these disciplines would surely enhance these 40 days for any believer. But Jesus speaks of these actions in the context of a warning. He knows the devious nature of the human spirit, and has seen how often religious folks do pious things purely to enhance their position in the community. Such a practice, he warns, will have absolutely no spiritual benefit! But he also says that when our intention is pure, and our discipline is private, we will be piling up treasure for ourselves in heaven. Now this doesn’t mean that if our tongue slips and we mention our discipline to a friend, all the benefit is lost! Such private sharing can in fact be useful and inspiring. It really is a matter of intention–and when our goal is to enhance and expand our own spiritual experience, the blessings do abound.
Thought for the Day: How will these 40 days affect my spiritual life?