More is not always better.
Giving is better than receiving.
While the general population’s ways would strongly conflict these two statements, they have significant meaning as the Easter season approaches.
On Ash Wednesday, Feb. 21, ashes will be placed on foreheads of worshipers to symbolize death and sorrow for sin. This will start Lent, the 40-day penitential period of fasting, prayer and almsgiving that precedes Easter.
As expression of penitence or regret for one’s wrongdoing, it is custom to give up something during Lent in the name of benefiting another need. Fasting is going without food to ask favor of God to ward off evil, to chasten one’s pride or to discipline oneself at a time of crisis.
“This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting,” St.Mark 9:29.
School used to always start with a morning prayer. Now it is against the law to pray in school or at any public activity. “Ask, and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you,” St.Matthew 7:7.
A usual example of penitence, fasting and prayer is to eat less while praying that those who are hungry might find nourishment. But, it can go much deeper by one being truly sorry for wrongdoings, following a conscientious diet and praying for and about everything one does.
Almsgiving or giving to the poor was recommended by Jesus. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed own, and shaken together, and running over,” St. Luke 6:38. Dipping deep into the pocket is not necessary, but helping someone in need and doing other works of charity are appropriate.
People claim they “don’t have time to do these things, and besides it doesn’t do any good.” Not unlike those who insist, “I’m a Christian; I don’t have to go to church.” Maybe so, but it sure can’t hurt.
Penitence, fasting, praying and almsgiving might not do any good, but how’s one to know if they aren’t given a chance. There’s likely to be a pleasant surprise.
Lent is the time to prove that less truly is better and giving does beat receiving.