Lent is a time of renewal and rebirth. We enter into the desert with Christ for forty days and hope to re-emerge stronger and ready. We die with Christ in hopes of resurrecting with him.
Part of this rebirth is fasting and prayer. Prayer is the first step because it directs our fasting and begs for the graces to fulfill the tasks of Lent. We commit acts of goodness and self sacrifice during Lent to strengthen our souls in our reshaping of our spiritual lives.
Fasting helps one to curb inclinations and passions. Fasting that is self imposed has benefits in this but the greatest fasting is from above. This is why the Church provides general fasting and days of abstinence. The first day of Lent is a full day of fasting, while Friday, in the West, and Wednesday and Friday in the East are days of abstinence throughout the Lenten calendar.
It is critical when targeting vices in our spiritual life to utilize prayer and fasting as a way to overcome our human weaknesses. Prayer and fasting strengthens the soul against the inclinations of the flesh and reinforces spiritual discipline. Both personal and social fasting is key. This is why we not only observe the Church’s Lenten rules, but also offer our own small sacrifices during Lent.
Ultimately our sacrifices are not just for the sole purpose of spiritual rebirth but also as an offering to Christ. Christ gave us his life as an example of how to live the good life in a fallen world. Lent helps us to show Christ our love and thankfulness in emulating and imitating his ways. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit through prayer, we are able to fulfill our Lenten goals. We must remember, our own works are fruitless before the Lord, unless done in His name and through His grace.
Please have a blessed Lent and find strength and growth in Christ through the Holy Spirit. May this Lent also bring us not only closer to Christ, but also to our other Christian brothers and sisters through the variety of Lenten services.
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