Tag Archives: lent

Beginning today, will Lent change my life?

prayer fasting alms.jpg

Yesterday’s Scripture reading at Mass from Tobit was a great entry into the great season of Lent: blinded for four years, Tobit’s whole life changed. His lent, as it were, provided him the graced-filled opportunity to make some necessary changes in his relationship with God and other, not mention he softened his demeanor. In time, God heals his physical and spiritual blindness. If you get a chance, read the Book of Tobit. One has to ask, to what am I blinded to and how do I want  God to heal me.

In his audience today the Pope recalled for us that “The Fathers of the Church teach that these three pious exercises are closely related: indeed, Saint Augustine calls fasting and almsgiving the “wings of prayer,” since they prepare our hearts to take flight and seek the things of heaven, where Christ has prepared a place for us.”

For those who believe in Christ and follow his path, the “Christian life is a ‘road’ to be travelled, it consists not so much of a law to be observed, but in meeting, welcoming and following Christ”. We meet the Lord Jesus “in the light and joy of the resurrection, the victory of life, love and good, then we too have to take up the cross of everyday life.”

Lent begins today, “let us accept Christ’s invitation to follow him more closely, renew our commitment to conversion and prayer, and look forward to celebrating the Resurrection in joy and newness of life.”

At the end of the lenten 40 days, how do I want to be different from who I am today? In what concrete ways will I allow prayer, fasting and almsgiving to be tools for my own education in the faith as Christ proposes to me? Will I have a renewed understanding of the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that totally changes my life?

Fast and abstinence for Ash Wednesday

The Church’s norms for the Lenten Fast and Abstinence us is as follows:

  • Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 who are in good health are bound by the obligation to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
  • Catholics between the ages of 14 and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays of Lent.
Fasting means partaking of only one full meal. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one’s needs, but together not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including juices and milk may be taken between meals.
Abstinence prohibits the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made from animal fat.
“While preserving their value, eternal penitential practices are never an end in themselves, but an aid to inner penitence, which consists of freeing the heart from the grip of sin with the help of grace, to direct it toward the love of God and our brothers and sisters” (John Paul II).
For an article on the point of fasting, see read it here.

“Spy” Wednesday

Spy Wednesday.jpgThe Church as often called today “spy Wednesday”  because of the betrayal of Christ one hears made by Judas. The name Judas is forever linked with the concept of betrayal. In Dante’s Inferno (Canto XXXIV) we see Judas in the lowest circle of Hell being eternally consumed by a three-faced winged devil. Imagine the affective hurt of being betrayed by a friend!

The Church prays

O God, who willed Your Son to undergo on our behalf the gibbet of the Cross so that You might drive away from us the power of the enemy, grant to us Your servants, that we may obtain the grace of the resurrection.

Palm Sunday 2010

Palm Sunday.jpg

Lent is not completed on our own initiative

We know by experience that we have not sufficient strength
in ourselves to bring to a successful completion our chief Lenten duty, which
is to die fully to sin in order to live fully in the risen Christ. But Christ
himself, before leaving his own, prayed to his Father to preserve them from
evil and from the evil one, from the seductions of the world and the attacks of
Satan. He taught them to ask, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from

Obviously he did not intend that his disciples be spared every kind of
temptation and danger, for this would be impossible in this life; besides, God
himself permits it to test our virtue
, but he wanted to assure them sufficient
strength to resist. The evil from which he desired to free them was sin, the
only real disaster, because it separates us from God.

Divine Intimacy

Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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