It’s the first week of Lent, and here we are, beginning our fast: we give up, we do with less. Why? Well, our fast can bear all sorts of fruit, certainly: clearing out obstacles on our journey with God, teaching us to be dependent on God alone, doing penance. But what do we do with what we’re sacrificing—that time, attention, money and, yes, food? From ancient times, Christian tradition has linked fasting with almsgiving. Pope Leo the Great put it very plainly back in the fifth century when he said, using vivid, specific language: “…let our Christian fast-times be fat and abound; and let each bestow on the weak and destitute those dainties which he denies himself.”
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