Your Guide to a Catholic Lent

What is Lent?

Lent is the forty day liturgical season of fasting, special prayer and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. The name “Lent” is from the Middle English Lenten and Anglo-Saxon Lenten, meaning Spring. During this period we are called to fast and abstain. How can we follow these guidelines for a more meaningful lent?

No meat should be eaten on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. We abstain from meat as a sacrifice to God. The “why Friday?” question is simple, as it is one way we commemorate the Passion and death of Our Savior Jesus Christ. This rule applies to all Catholics age 14 and older. Instead of eating meat, attend a Lenten fish fry, enjoy mac ‘n cheese and/or participate in Stations of the Cross.

We are called to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by consuming only one meal. This applies to Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59. Two smaller meals are permitted, but the small meals should not equal a second full meal. Drinking coffee, tea and water between meals is allowed. Snacks between meals are not allowed. The reason behind this isn’t to think about what you are not eating during this time but to draw attention towards Christ.

What are you doing for Lent this year? Giving up something for Lent fosters self-discipline and tempers our desires. It is a form of fasting. It is a form of penance. It promotes spiritual growth. If you’re giving up something for Lent, that’s great. But think also about the possibility of doing something positive to bolster your spiritual life and make the world a better place. Look for ways that you can increase your knowledge of your faith, strengthen your spiritual life or perform special acts of mercy and kindness at home, at work, in your parish or in your community.

One final consideration. Before all else we are obliged to perform the duties of our state in life. Any deprivation that would seriously hinder us in carrying out our work, as students, employees or parents, would be contrary to the will of God.

~Mychael Jones
Director of Liturgy