We Christians enter into Lent knowing the three basics: pray, fast, give alms. Other religions know the importance of these three also. The Koran, for example, states “Prayer carries us half way to God, fasting brings us to the door of His palace, and alms-giving procures us admission.”  Why do we need all three? I’m sure it would be good to pray more during Lent. Wouldn’t that be enough? Or why not just give up chocolate and bad habits? Or just give a weekly donation to charity?  Each one of these is spiritually and physically helpful to ourselves and others. But consider them as twined cords. How much stronger in the weaving together! Furthermore, when doing only one we more easily concentrate on ourselves. I prayed an extra rosary every day in Lent. I gave up desserts six days a week.  I gave ten dollars every week to a charity. Yes, look what I did. Somehow doing all three simultaneously keeps me more grounded. Instead of concentrating on me—my sacrifices, my prayers, my alms—my focus is somewhat shifted to those whom I help. I feel I don’t do enough. I pray for the needy, but I better give them service and money, too. I serve those in need, but am I praying for them also? I give up food or certain pleasures, but what do I do with the extra money and time? Am I using extra minutes for good deeds and extra money for the needy?  You can’t do one very well without the other two. So as we continue our Lenten journey, we can sing this song to the tune of “Three Blind Mice.”

     P-F-A.  P-F-A. Make sure you pray. Make sure you fast.
Whatever you do in this Lenten time.
Do some service and give some time,
And don’t forget to collect those dimes. P-F-A. P-F-A.

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