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11-LENT

Embrace prayer, fasting and almsgiving this Lent

This week’s editorial leader

As we enter Lent, it is worth considering the three pillars of Lenten observance: Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Of course, as Christians we should be praying anyway, yet all too often it becomes rote for many of us. This Lent we should resolve to strengthen our prayers, to pray more often, more deeply. It is easier said than done. Increasingly there is so much noise and confusion in the world around us that simply committing to a silent act of prayer can seem like entering hostile territory. But simply making the effort to pray each day for a few moments before we go to sleep can have a profound impact.

Our Almsgiving—or charitable giving—is an area where Scottish Catholics excel. Our generosity supports the work of SCIAF through their Wee Box campaign. As you can read in this edition, money that goes in those Wee Boxes achieves a tremendous amount helping farmers in Zambia. We in Scotland are largely fortunate—we live lives of tremendous luxury compared to millions. Yet just a little help can go a tremendous distance. There is a comfort in knowing that the money given to SCIAF is going to help those in need and that our donations will actually help.

Finally we come to fasting. Of course we fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, yet increasingly fasting has fallen out of fashion in Scotland. Perhaps it is time to revive it.

By fasting, we deny our human appetites and can focus more intensely on our prayer. Further it is a way to show solidarity with the poor. Many today do not have the luxury of three meals a day. A small amount of hunger through fasting cannot compare but it reminds us of how much suffering there is in the world. Finally, if we fast together in our families and parishes it creates a bond. It is a shared act that unites us in our Christianity.

This Lent all three of these pillars are worth embracing.

 

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