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Conversation with God and Moving Away from Pride and Privilege

by Feb 27, 2024Friar Reflection

Jesus gives a tremendous condemnation to the religious leader of the times. He recognizes what they teach as important but faults them on their lifestyle. They make themselves important through outwards signs of distinction and at the same time do not live the life that they preach. Even their acts of charity, prayer and fasting are done in such a way as to make them seem more important to all those around them.

This attitude continues to be present in the life of the church, not just in the leaders but in all of us as Christians. The purpose of the penitential practices (prayer, fasting and almsgiving) is to help us renounce ourselves and bring us closer to our neighbors and to God. As we abandon our excess and our dependence on things, we grow closer to God, and we have more to share with others. It is easy for us to lose sight of those internal purposes and get caught up in feeling important for how we perform the external practice. How is it that we are so capable of using good practices for bad ends?

Lent is a time to abandon our attachments to things, customs, and people that interrupt our relationship with God and our service to others. We become free of idols and sin. If we do the penitential practices without becoming closer to God and others, then something is very wrong – usually that comes down to pride and privilege. True penitential practice leads us to live joyfully in the confidence of what God provides for us and makes us aware that we have more than enough to share with others.

The greatest among you must be your servant.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;

but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.