We talk about setting your Lenten goals with a focus on fasting. Plus, we’ll introduce you to Blessed Esperanza de Jesus, AND give you a Spa Moment for your Soul!
Tips for Living Lent “Entering the Lenten Season” written by Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox
Mother church gives us the gift of the Liturgical Calendar for many reasons, most especially to remind us of the Salvation Plan of God and to help us, her faithful to be united with the Triune God. For instance, during Lent, we are asked to live the three pillars of the Lenten Season – Almsgiving, Fasting and Prayer.
The following are a few ideas or suggestions you can consider doing during the Lenten Season.
- When you start your day – implore the grace of God to help you see His love for you today. “Father, Son and Holy Spirit – help me see your love for me today.”
- Implore your Guardian Angel to assist you throughout the day. Pray the traditional prayer to our Guardian Angel or simply ask your Guardian Angel to walk with you and help you from falling (literally), to help you remain focus.
- Pray! Make an effort to spend at least 10-15 minutes daily in concentrated prayer.
- Ask Mary to help you in all you do. Pray the Rosary daily! It only takes 15 minutes. There are so many Rosary meditations available for you to use.
- Read the Word of God – the Bible. The Word of God is alive and refreshes the soul, because it is The Word! A suggestion would be to read the daily gospel.
- Fast! Fasting can be food or a meal. However, fasting from something that is keeping you from spending a few minutes with God in prayer. For example: limit time watching television.
- Almsgiving – collect a few cents/dollars a week and place them in a box/bowl. After the 40 days, you will be surprised what you have collected. Then give this collection to a ministry serving the poor.
- Read a book that will help you in your spiritual growth.
- Make an effort to schedule a Holy Hour once a week. OR sometime in silent prayer before Jesus in His Eucharistic Presence. Do not be tempted to bring lots of reading material during this Hour. This Holy Hour is your special time with Jesus, the Son of God! Speak briefly, listen and listen!
- If married: pray with your spouse daily. Before you sleep –pray the Memorare or other favorite prayer.
- Pray the Act of Contrition daily, especially before you sleep!
- Go to Confession. Receive this Sacrament of Reconciliation and healing. Try to schedule this Sacrament once a month.
- Watch a religious movie such as “The Passion of Christ” by M. Gibson. Or the “Ten Commandments”, a classic.
- Read a story of a Saint. There are so many! Their lives witnessed courage and humility.
- Attend one of the spiritual events sponsored by the Pilgrim Center of Hope or a parish mission.
Where is fasting found in the Bible?
Matthew 6:16 – When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.
Galatians 5:17 – For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.
Romans 7:15 – What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.
Romans 7:5 – For when we were in the flesh, our sinful passions, awakened by the law, worked in our members to bear fruit for death.
Romans 7:24 – Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?
Romans 8:4-6 – So that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us, who live not according to the flesh but according to the spirit. For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit. The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:13 – For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Galatians 5:24 – Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.
1 Corinthians 9:27 – No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
What do the Saints say about fasting?
St Peter Chrysologus – “Fasting is the soul of prayer; mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others.”
St. Basil the Great – “Fasting gives birth to prophets and strengthens the powerful; fasting makes lawgivers wise. Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness.”
St. Jose Maria Escriva – “The world admires only spectacular sacrifice, because it does not realize the value of sacrifice that is hidden and silent.”