Lent is like a pre-Easter retreat in
which we do special things that keep us focused and prepare us to walk
with Jesus through his passion, death, and resurrection. Christians
traditionally observe Lent with prayer
. These disciplines are in no way
meant to be an indulgence in masochism or self-punishment or
self-improvement. They are meant to lead us back to the grace we
received in Baptism.
How can I pray more?
Try taking more time for quiet. Stop in
at the Chapel of the Holy Family, or the Eucharistic Chapel in the AMU,
or St. Joan of Arc to be quiet with the Lord. Do some "spiritual
reading." The Memorial Library has a good selection of books on the
lives of the saints, prayer styles, and reflection. Campus Ministry
also has a small lending library. Just stop in AMU 236 and ask at the
front desk if you can see the selection and check out a book or two.
Why should I fast? Fasting is a
discipline Christians use - just as Jesus did - to lead us back to the
fervor of our baptism when we put on Christ and vowed to follow Him.
Our fasting reminds us to be more Christ-like in our everyday lives. “By denying ourselves food at certain times, we recall the reality of hunger, the needs of the poor, and our citizenship in the heavenly kingdom by moving ourselves away from an unhealthy focus on material goods and their consumption and intentionally changing our body’s focus.” (Blaha, Lenten Disciplines)
What are the Church Laws on fasting and abstinence
- Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are bound
to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and each Friday of Lent.
- Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday, in
addition to abstaining from meat, should fast, i.e. eat only one full
meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Smaller quantities of food may
be taken at two other meals but no other food should be consumed at
other times during those two days. Catholics should not lightly excuse
themselves from these prescribed minimal penitential practices.
Why should I give alms? Almsgiving helps us to
focus on someone else's needs instead of our own. Lent is not a
personal spiritual workout; it is a communal experience of renewal and
a recommitment to our Catholic beliefs and mission. Students attending
Masses sponsored by Campus Ministry during Lent will have the chance to
contribute to St. Ben’s Community Meal and the Heifer Project.