Today’s Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Prayer, almsgiving, and fasting are the three righteous deeds on which Christ gives us instruction in this gospel. In this reflection, let’s focus on prayer and fasting. They can go hand-in-hand in our crazy, hectic lives. You might be wondering how. How can I fit in prayer time, and who fasts anymore? Let’s look at a typical day for mothers of children still living at home. You wake up earlier than the rest of the family to prepare breakfast before everyone scurries out the door, possibly including you. You go about your business throughout the day, either at home with the keeping of a home or at work sharing your feminine genius in the places where God has led you. You either welcome the family home in the afternoon/evening or get home with the rest of the family and have to fit in dinner, homework, soccer practice, dance, piano, laundry if you were at work all day, baths, and finally get everyone in bed, including yourself. Where is there possibly time to separate yourself from others and go to your room to pray? Apparently this is what we are supposed to do because even Jesus withdrew from everyone to go to His Father in prayer. Here’s where I found the best way to both withdraw to pray and to fast. Believe it or not, I found it in those stressful, frustrating, irritating, nothing-is-going-right moments. It was not uncommon for me to grab a bag of chips, or maybe even an adult beverage during those crazy moments. Then I realized it was so much more beneficial to deny myself the comfort of the food and let my family know I needed five minutes. Eventually they figured out what was going on during those five minutes, saw the difference it made in my disposition, and knew it was a good thing, a really good thing when mom announced she needed five minutes. What a breath of fresh air it can bring to our hearts and minds when we run to Christ in the turmoil instead of reaching for something that we think might comfort us. Prayer and fasting can be just as beneficial on a small scale. Try it! You’ll fall in love with Christ even more deeply, offer such a good example to your family, and find great peace resting in Him rather than earthly comforts.
What do I reach for to give myself a moment of peace or comfort? Is it food, drink, or a TV remote? Am I willing to try the “take five” idea instead?
Lord, only in You will I find real peace and comfort. Please send me the grace I need to remember to turn to you in a moment of stress. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Diane Schwind