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Support us, O Lord, with your gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Look:

What is your first impression of this image? Notice all the different kinds of food, the colors and packaging, the arrangement on the shelves. Now turn your attention to a particular feature.  What is it that you especially see?  What do you imagine you would do with a purchase from this place?

Reflect:

Today’s prayer asks for divine support “through the fast we have begun.” Our lives are overflowing with abundance, much as we see in the image. Now that we are into Lent, many people engage in some form of what they think of as fasting. Eating less food perhaps, drinking less alcohol, abstaining from eating meat on certain days, or chocolates or other favorite treats throughout the season.  These may be acts of “bodily self-denial.”  Rather than giving something up, some take on a spiritual practice, such as intentional prayer or meditation. What is your fast this Lent?  Have you begun a fast?

Act:

If you have decided to fast in some way, do it.  Have you considered fasting from certain behaviors? Think about how what sorts of actions you can decrease or eliminate from your usual repertoire, allowing your heart to make space to be filled with compassion and love.  If you have a habitual behavior that harms someone else, first become aware of it, pray, and with God’s help, do what you can to fast from it. Have you begun a fast? Start now.  It’s not too late.

Thanks for taking part in New and Contrite Hearts. Your comments are very welcome—let others know what you saw and experienced. Until next time, may you have a most blessed Lent.

Music: “Ambient Sonata” Album:  Ambient Sonata Artist: Dee Yan-Key

Image:  “Store and Owner” Place: Soriano nel Cimino, Italy Photographer: Jon Shematek