Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Lord prescribes prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as our Lenten disciplines.
The Church traditionally says there are three things we ought to do during Lent, and I put stress on the word do. In recent years, we’ve emphasized the interior dimensions a little too much—that Lent is primarily about attitudes, about ideas and intentions. In the traditional practice of the Church, Lent is about doing things, things that involve the body as much as the mind, that involve the exterior of your life as much as the interior.
The three great practices of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—are three things you do. This is going to sound a little bit strange, but my recommendation for this Lent is, in a certain way, to forget about your spiritual life—by which I mean forget about looking inside at how you’re progressing spiritually. Follow the Church’s recommendations and do three things: pray, fast, and give alms. And as you do, pray to draw closer to the Lord as the center of your life and the reason you do everything.