One Minute Reflection – 22 February – Ash Wednesday – Joel 2:12-19, Matthew 6:16-21 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“But you, when you fast…” – Matthew 6:17..
REFLECTION – “My dear brethren, today we set out on the great Lenten journey. So let us take our food and drink along in our boat, putting into the chest, the abundant mercy we shall need. For our fasting is a hungry one, our fasting is a thirsty one, if it is not sustained by goodness and refreshed by mercy. Our fasting will be cold, our fasting will flag, if the fleece of almsgiving does not clothe it, if the garment of compassion, does not wrap it around.
Brethren, what Spring is for the land, mercy is for fasting – the soft, Spring winds, cause all the buds on the plains to flower – the mercy of our fast causes all our seeds to grow until they blossom and bear fruit, for the heavenly harvest. What oil is to the lamp, goodness is to our fast. As the oily fat sets the lamp alight and, in spite of so little to feed it, keeps it burning, to our comfort, all night long, so goodness makes our fasting shine: it casts its beams until it reaches the full brightness of self-restraint. What the sun is to the day, almsgiving is to our fast – the sun’s splendour increases the light of day, breaking through the dullness of the clouds – almsgiving, together with fasting, sanctifies its holiness and, thanks to the light of goodness, dispels from our desires anything that could petrify.
In short, what the body is for the soul, generosity acts similarly for the fast: when the soul leaves the body it brings about death; if generosity abandons the fast, it is, its death!” – St Peter Chrysologus (400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, “Doctor of Sermons” Father and Doctor of the Church (From Sermon 8).
PRAYER – Grant, O Lord, that Thy faithful people may, with true piety, undertake the time-honoured custom of fasting and may carry it out with unwavering devotion. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).