Fasting and Abstinence

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Happy Lent! Doesn’t that sound a bit oxymoronic? I mean, we’re not supposed to be happy during Lent, right? Wrong! Lots of people think that Lent is a time when we walk around in sackcloth and ashes. Let’s make sure we all put on a dour face and let everyone know how difficult our fasting is. Oh, woe is me! I haven’t had chocolate in five days now! I think I’m gonna go crazy! Jesus says otherwise.

In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 6, Jesus tells us how we are to conduct ourselves during Lent. Make sure to read it. Better yet, make sure that you get to Mass today! You know, today is one of the two most popular days at Catholic parishes. The other is Palm Sunday. Do you know why? Because those are the two days that they give something away! Ashes today and palm fronds on Palm Sunday. Everybody join in!

Today is a day of fast and abstinence. Here’s the deal…if you are physically able, you may only have one main meal today. You may have two smaller meals, the sum of which should not be larger than your main meal. Oh, and no meat today. (For more info from the USCCB, click here.) Why does the Church require these things of us? I mean, doesn’t this seem rather archaic? Our goal is this: every time we feel a hunger pang, we turn our hearts to God and ask for His help to get through. We unite our suffering (albeit small) with that of Christ. And we feel a sense of unity with those who are truly hungry. So, I hope your Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving will go well for you, and that this Lent, you draw closer to God than you ever thought possible.

Father, you know that we cannot truly practice our faith without your grace. Help us to be faithful to our Lenten practices and draw ever closer to You during this season of grace. Amen.

Today’s Readings

If you would like to grow in knowledge of the faith for Lent, get some of the many resources available at


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