Lenten Lesson- What does fasting and abstaining do for us?

by Melissa Garcia

We are now on our third week of Lent, also known as Laudate, signifying the mid-point of our waiting season. How are we growing in our faith as we prepare for the death and resurrection of our Lord? One thing that may be difficult during Lent is fasting and abstaining. According to the Catholic definition we are obligated to fast and abstain from eating meat every Friday of Lent.  We are able to eat one full meal on Friday and very moderate snacks in the morning and in the evening. Beginning this fasting and abstaining process may be a difficult challenge for many but when we understand how it develops our life spiritually; we are able to transform and unfold a deeper faith in our prayer life with God.

Fasting and abstaining represent a form of penance as we are preparing for the Lord’s resurrection. These practices are supported in the Old and New Testament. When we practice these traditions we are seeking the Lord in a way that truly opens our prayer life. For example, when it is Friday, we start off the day with a light snack just enough to provide us with the energy we need. We may still have the desire to eat when we hear that rumbling in our stomachs. Our first thought as humans is to fulfill that desire. Instead when we feel hunger in that moment, this is the time to bring it to God. This is the moment when we should begin to pray. We can praise God for whatever it may be, life, food, shelter, personal growth, concern, etc. Whatever it may be, and God will listen and he will understand you. While we are practicing these actions of abstinence and fasting, we are imitating Jesus. This reflects the time when Jesus was being tested in the desert for 40 days. So Jesus knows your pain. He knows your suffering. There is nothing he has not gone through that you may face.

I ask you my friends to really take the Lenten season and apply your practices to all your queries, happiness, struggles, thirst and hunger. As these moments occur, praise God for what he has provided with you and ask questions. Jesus will provide for what he has planned for you. Before you know it God will have manifested in your life and impacted it in a way that you may not have thought.

Trivia Answer: The Feast of the Annunciation

About I.Q.

Irene began working with St. Mary's University in August of 2008. She currently serves as the Minister for Faith Formation and Faith Enrichment with University Ministry and as adjunct faculty with the Theology Department. Irene holds a M.A. in Systematic & Philosophical Theology and Ethics & Social Theory. As well as a B.A. in Religious Studies and Philosophy.

Posted on March 12, 2012, in Lenten Reflections. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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