The Good Steward — A time to practice self-sacrificing love

Daniel Conway

During the season of Lent, we are encouraged to “dig deeper” into the teaching and practice of Jesus. What we encounter in the Gospels is the amazing fusion of God’s holy Word in the daily life of a man who was like us in everything but sin. 

He is the perfect example of what we are called to become: faithful children of God who listen attentively to God’s Word and who strive to integrate it into everything we say and do. This “fusion” of God’s Word into the stuff of our daily lives is called holiness, and everyone is called to become holy by following in the footsteps of Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life. 

Lent provides us with a spiritual GPS that can lead us along the path of holiness. In fact, the three familiar Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are designed to keep us from losing our way as we travel the road to holiness in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Prayer is like WiFi. It keeps us connected to God, and it helps us to discern God’s will for us. Unless we pray, we are hopelessly cut off from the source, summit and goal of our life’s journey. We cannot know who we are, where we are going or how we can get there, unless we remain in conscious contact with God. 

Fasting is an exercise in self-denial. A mature human being learns to deny his or her needs and desires in favor of the greater good. Self-denial for the sake of another is essential if we want to live as Jesus taught us. The forms of fasting that we practice during Lent are intended to remind us that as Christians we are called to be men and women for others. 

Almsgiving is an expression of Christian stewardship. What God has given to us in his abundant generosity is meant to be cherished, used responsibly and shared generously with others, especially our sisters and brothers in need. Lenten practices of almsgiving remind us that we dare not take for granted the gifts we have received from our loving God. These are meant to be shared, not hoarded, for the sake of all. 

As we continue this Lenten journey, let’s continue to practice prayer (staying connected to God), fasting (denying ourselves for the greater good) and almsgiving (taking care of and sharing all God’s gifts) for the sake of living well and growing in holiness. There is no better way to live or to experience the joy of life in Christ. 

The lives of the saints show us that the way to holiness, the way that Jesus taught and exemplified, can be summarized in just one word: Love (agape). Self-sacrificing love is the way to happiness and freedom. It is the way of Jesus that we are invited, and challenged, to practice during this holy season of Lent.

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