Tag Archives: penance

Fasting in Lent

Fasting is one of the three focuses of Lent, along with prayer and almsgiving. But how much fasting should we do? The Church asks very little: only to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In this meditation we pray about this important topic, considering:

  • How much Our Lord suffered for us and how we should respond with generosity
  • The history of fasting in Lent, from the early centuries to the present
  • Statements from Pope St John Paul II on generosity in fasting
  • Words of St Francis de Sales on the spirit of fasting
  • Practical ways we can live fasting in Lent

Lent, a springtime in the spiritual life

 

 

 

To prepare for his public life, Our Lord spent forty days in prayer and fasting. This is the origin of the forty days of Lent in preparation for Easter, to be spent in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In this meditation we consider how:

  • After forty days in the desert Christ rejected the temptations of Satan, showing us how we too can reject temptations to sin.
  • The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Lencten”, meaning “springtime”, and if we live Lent well we will have a springtime of new life in our soul.
  • To live Lent well we should strive to do something specific in the traditional areas of prayer, fasting  and almsgiving.

Sorrow for our sins

When on Good Friday Jesus looked at Peter after his three denials, Peter went out and wept bitterly. We too have offended Christ by our sins and we can learn from Peter to be sorry for them. In this meditation we consider:

  • The value of contemplating Jesus’ sorrowful face in order to be moved to true sorrow for our sins
  • The spirit of penance: contrition with the resolution to try not to sin again
  • The sacrament of penance: the importance of receiving this sacrament of mercy regularly and of helping others to do so
  • The acts of penance: why we need them and what we can do to make up for our sins

Children of a loving Father

One of the most beautiful truths of our faith is that God is our loving Father. In this meditation we consider seven consequences of this reality:

  • God has a purpose for each one of us
  • God loves us and we should love him in return
  • We should talk with our Father in prayer
  • God respects our freedom and when we sin we should be sorry and ask his forgiveness through the sacrament of Penance
  • As a good Father, God disciplines us and allows us to suffer
  • God watches over us in his loving Providence so we should trust him and not be anxious
  • God wants us to go home to the Father’s house when we die and we should long to be with him there

Called to holiness

Christ calling the apostles

We are all called to sanctity

Many  think only a few extraordinary people are called to sanctity and that it is sufficient for the rest to limit themselves to being good. But God has loved everyone and he wants all to love him with their whole heart, soul, mind and strength. All are called to sanctity and sanctity is within the reach of all. In this meditation we will consider how:

  • God has called each and everyone from all eternity to fulfill a mission
  • Christ loves everyone and he wants all to love him in return
  • To bear fruit we must be branches very united to the vine who is Christ
  • We are united to Christ through prayer, penance, the sacraments and fulfilling his will

The barren fig tree

Christ and the fig treeChrist tells the apostles that it was he who chose them and appointed them to go out and bear fruit, fruit that would abide. He has said the same thing to us. In this meditation we consider:

Lent in the Year of Mercy

lent-prayer-fasting-giving-works-of-love

Now that we are in Lent in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we pray in this meditation about how to live Lent well so as to derive the maximum benefit from this great season of grace.  We will consider:

  • the importance of Lent
  • the meaning of Lent and especially how we might live the three main areas of
  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Almsgiving