SAINTS: Sharbel Makhluf — Fasting With A Purpose, by Greg Friedman

Daily Reflections

Sharbel Makhluf Lent with the saints

From Lent With The Saints

Isaiah 58:1-9a; Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19; Matthew 9:14-15

Fasting is one of the three traditional ways to observe Lent (prayer and almsgiving are the other two), based on Jesus’s description of them in our Ash Wednesday Gospel.

Today the scripture readings focus on fasting.  The prophet Isaiah chides the people for their behavior on fast days, pursuing evil and not God’s ways.  The Lord wants works of justice and compassion connected with fast days.  In the Gospel, Jesus explains to the followers of John the Baptist that while he (Jesus) is with his disciples, they will not fast; only after he has left them will they fast.

Sharbel Makhluf was known for both his fasting and his care for those who sought him out for prayer and blessing.  Born in a tiny village in Lebanon, he lived as a hermit in the second half of the nineteenth century, in connection with the Monastery of Saint Maron in Annaya, Lebanon.  While maintaining his hermit life, he did occasionally bring the sacraments to villagers near the monastery.  After his death at age seventy, his tomb became a destination for pilgrims seeking healing.

Saint Sharbel is revered in both the Maronite and Roman rites.  He offers us guidance for our Lenten fasting as it is combined with both prayer and works of charity.

Today’s Action

Consider some kind of fasting as a Lenten practice – but make sure it leads you to a deeper awareness of an charity toward those in need.

Prayer

God of our fasting, show us how our hunger unites us with those in need of bread, how letting go of life’s comforts can aid those lacking necessities for life.

Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: