An early follower of Francis was not able to sustain the extreme fasting that Francis himself practiced. Rather than shaming the man, Francis broke his own fast so that his hungry brother could eat. Religious practices can never become more important than the end to which they lead: love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes this point again and again in the Gospels. It’s a good lesson at the beginning of Lent. What we do for Lent is far less important than why we do it. The time-honored traditions of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are less to benefit us than to draw us closer to God and improve the lives of those around us.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections by Diane M. Houdek