Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
In these passages Jesus instructs us on acts of piety. The dictionary defines piety as an act of devoutness. Cursillo teaches that it includes acts that bring us closer to the Lord, increase our awareness of Him, and lead us to more mindfully live according to His will.
One of the best examples of piety is the real-life experience of what happened when Dr. Harald Rohlig was congratulated on the beautiful music he played during the services at St John’s. Dr. Rohlig would always reply. “I play the music for God; what he lets you hear is up to Him.” It was as if he was almost surprised we heard the music.
The passages today give me a better understanding of what Dr. Rohlig was telling me. Being a truly devout man, he did not play the organ for us to hear on Sundays, he played for and to the glory of God. We heard the music as a gift from God to us, not as a gift from Dr. Rohlig to us.
The remaining verses follow in this same vein. For giving, prayer, and fasting to be acts of piety, they must be acts performed with the focus on the relationship of the actor with God. If they are performed for earthly reasons: to show off, to receive praise from others, to exhibit our devoutness to others, then they lose their character as acts of piety and become self-aggrandizement for which the reward is earthly not heavenly. The same acts performed for God, with the mind focused only on that relationship between us and God, are righteous acts seen and received by God and rewarded by God.
Lord, let us use this time of Lent to become closer to you by keeping our focus on you rather than worldly praise for our actions.