Jenny and I, like a lot of you, have taken on Lenten disciplines. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, Lenten disciplines, while edifying, present an opportunity for the temptation to self-righteousness. The following quote from Jerome of Stridon is just the sort of reminder I need:
“Be on your guard when you begin to mortify your body by abstinence and fasting—lest you imagine yourself to be perfect and a saint—for perfection does not consist in this virtue. It is only a help, a disposition, a means, though a fitting one, for the attainment of true perfection.” —Jerome of Stridon
True perfection is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength; and our neighbors as ourselves. To the extent that Lenten disciplines help us to love as God loves they are a good thing. To the extent that they distract us from that task, they are not.
Note: my educated guess is that by “abstinence,” Jerome means abstaining from certain foods.
Hat Tip: Sojourners