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Friday, February 27, 2009


"He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry"
(Mt 4,1-2)

It's Friday ......and the kids are already digging through the fridge wondering "what will we eat for lunch?" Funny how talking about fasting and abstinence makes us hungry and craving.

I have heard people, some of them priests, remark that giving up is not so important as doing some extra good thing. If we had to make a choice between the two, I suppose more works of mercy would be the best choice. Why does it have to be either /or? Why has fasting become such a stretch in the minds of otherwise faithful Catholics? Isn't there time in this forty day journey for a little of each of the principal works of Lent?

After reading what Our Holy Father wrote, I am more inclined to keep Friday fast and abistinence with greater resolve as well as fasting from some small comfort every day.

"Denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an
interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by His saving word. Through
fasting and praying, we allow Him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we
experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God."

In our family, we have always given up sweets and desserts with the understanding that the little ones may have sweets that are offered at someone else's house. Our hope is to gently help them learn to delay gratification as well as to pause and reflect on the greater sacrifice that Christ made for us. More on the full program of Lenten offerings can be found at It is an excellent and comprehensive resource. * The program of fasting in the strict, forty-day sense described here is not for everyone. * But it offers some helpful guides for those who want to try a strict fast of any length.

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