Posted on: February 24, 2017
Season of Lent
This Wednesday (March 1) is Ash Wednesday. This Wednesday we begin the Season of Lent. Each year the Church invites us to examine our lives through prayer, sacrifice, support of the poor, and those in need. These simple Lenten practices are meant to help us repent of our own sinfulness in order that we might reorient our lives to Christ and to the values of the Gospel and the Church. In Lent we turn our attention to God by learning to look less at ourselves and our own needs and more at the needs of others and our dependence on God.
Church Regulations for the Season of Lent…
Days of Fast and Abstinence: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence; anyone between the ages of 18 and 59 is limited to one full meal on these days. No meat is permitted on these two days.
Days of Abstinence: On all the Fridays of Lent, anyone who is 14 years of age or older must abstain totally from meat.
Serious reasons, for example, health, can excuse one from these rules. Church law also encourages parents to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.
We keep the Season of Lent by a series of voluntary acts. These voluntary acts are both positive and negative. Positive acts include, for example a decision to spend more time in prayer, participating in Mass, reading scripture and doing works of mercy and kindness. Negative acts involve giving up something like our favorite foods or entertainment. We do these acts not just for the sake of doing them, but in order to enhance our realization of how much we depend on God. More importantly, these acts of self-sacrifice are themselves a prayer to God for ourselves and for the world in which we live.