“Blessed are those who have mercy
Who give to the poor and fast and pray
The Holy Spirit will fill their hearts
The Son will show them mercy on judgement day”

Such is the refrain of the Lenten Communion hymn in the Coptic Church. What makes this hymn unique, among other hymns, is that its lyrics change based upon which week of Lent it happens to be. But, the refrain stays the same. It reminds us of the essential values of the fast and that which we stand to gain from it.

We have mercy upon others, showing the same grace that God has given to us. We give to those less fortunate than us, in emulation of our glorious Savior. We fast, abstaining from food and consuming only the simplest of meals, to discipline the desires of the flesh. We pray, because the ultimate goal of the Lent is to grow in our relationship with the Divine One.

And what do we gain? We are filled by the Holy Spirit and we receive the mercy of our most compassionate Redeemer.

By John Daoud, Yale Pauli Murray College ‘21