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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 4

Fasting has long been a traditional spiritual practice, along with prayer and almsgiving, especially during Lent. People speak about “fasting from” or “giving up” a favorite food or drink or pastime.

Fasting is not unique to Christianity, since the Jewish people, long before Jesus, practiced it as a type of penance.

Isaiah the prophet writes about true fasting by stressing not so much going without food or drink but rather “removing from your midst oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech” (58:9).

It has been said that more sins are committed with the tongue than any other part of the body. Are we guilty of oppression by hateful words to or about another? Are we guilty of false accusation by telling lies about another? Are we guilty of malicious speech by derogatory or hurtful comments to or about another—or even telling the truth when it would be better left unsaid?

During this Lenten season, let us thank the Lord often for the gift of speech. If we have used it in a less-than-virtuous manner, let us ask forgiveness and pledge to use this gift to praise God and extol others. Then, as Isaiah writes, we shall “delight in the Lord” (58:14).

Father Gerard Knapp, C.Ss.R.
Brooklyn, N.Y. 

Scripture readings for today: Isaiah 58:9-14; Psalm 86; Luke 5:27-32