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Ash Wednesday

I’m trying again, but making no promises this time.  After multiple attempts I think I’ve learned my lesson.  Life has given me many lessons to learn lately, and every one of them has been incredibly humbling.  That said…

In today’s Gospel reading we are reminded “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.” (Mt 6:16)  In the Roman Breviary we read this morning from St. Augustine:

It is obvious that this commandment aims to make us focus our intentions wholly on interior joys.  If we seek a material recompense we will become conformists to the world’s standards.  And by that we will forfeit the blessedness promised us — a blessedness which is all the more certain and reliable as it is concerned with that interior calling by which God has destined us to be made conformable to the image of His Son.  In our Gospel selection, then, the chief point to be noted is this: pride can be found not only in material glitter and show, but in dowdiness and gloom as well.  And this latter will be all the more dangerous because it masquerades as service of God.

When, in the course of various trials, some of the things which such a one has acquired or sought to acquire under this guise are withdrawn or denied him, then the truth will inevitably come out, whether this is a wolf in sheep’s pelt or a sheep in his own.  Yet just because the fakers so often show frugal restraint in their outfit to fool the gullible is no reason for a Christian to cater to the tastes of men by stylish superfluities.  For the sheep have no obligation to shed their own pelts just because the wolves sometimes use them for disguise. (Emphasis mine)

I think I could reasonably condense his words into this: do the right because it is right, and do not be dissuaded because of the actions of some hypocrites.

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