Saturday, 20 February 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 10—Working It, Acedia and Almsgiving

…a quarter of the way through this Lent. A quarter of the way to holiness? I don’t know. The Lord does. What I do know is that Lent is a good opportunity to, as Canticle 33, one of this morning’s Daily Prayer between-the-readings canticles, states,
Seek the Lord while he may be found, •
call upon him while he is near. (A Song of the Word of the Lord—Isaiah 55.6-11)
If I lean into my Lent seeking him in the liturgy and the Scripture, I will also find myself leaning safely on his mighty, outstretched and everlasting arms (Ps 136.12; 89.13; Dt 33.27). And I will be nearer to him than when I first began on Ash Wednesday. So will you.

Leaning into Lent, however, is often like leaning into a wind or a current. It requires effort. It can be tiring. This mornings New Testament reading speaks of the work involved:
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. (Galatians 6:9–10 NRSV)
Holy Lent self examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, reading and meditating on the Word of God are things that can weary our fleshly selves. The Desert Fathers called it acedia—spiritual sloth, or apathy. But Lenten disciplines will bear fruit if I do not give up.

Almsgiving, in particular, resonates for me when I read those verses. I work for the good of all both when I share the money God has given me the ability to earn and when I share the time and bodily strength and health I have been given in serving others—especially the poor. So do you.