Loading
February 18, 2010
Bishop asks: How are you going to observe this time of fasting?
By Bishop Michael O. Jackels *

By Bishop Michael O. Jackels *

The holy season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2010. How will we observe this time of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting?

The Church requires a minimal response. Those of us who are 18 but not yet 60 years of age fast on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. That means to eat only one full meal and two lesser meals, with nothing in between meals. And on those same days, those of us who are 14 years of age and older abstain from eating meat.

Fasting and abstaining are examples of self-denial. There is value in doing them for their own sakes; there is a health benefit from fasting and not eating meat products.

Moreover, there is a spiritual benefit to obeying the laws of the Church, such as deepening our humility.

There are perhaps other motivations for practicing some form of self-denial, like fasting and abstaining.

For example, self-denial is connected to other people, especially those who lack the comforts of life or those things needed to live in human dignity. We voluntarily undergo discomforts in order to be able to comfort others. Or we see that we have things not only for our own comfort but also to share with others, to comfort others.

Related to this notion is practicing self-denial in order to curb our appetite for a selfish indulgence of comforts. As Jesus taught, “is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6: 25). Self-denial is a program for freedom; we are not ruled by our bodily appetites, but rather ruled by love of God and neighbor.

Also, self-denial is a way to imitate and follow Jesus: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). To follow Jesus’ example of service and sacrifice, and to take up the cross of forgiveness, no matter who, no matter what, requires us to mortify our selfishness, self-pity, and self-centeredness. That is usually harder than giving up cigarettes or Twinkies.

Finally, any and all of our religious practices, like almsgiving, prayer, and fasting are companions of love, the heart of the practice of our faith. Without love, shown concretely to God and neighbor, we might give away everything we own, or spend the day in prayer, or mortify completely our bodily appetites, but gain nothing (see 1 Corinthians 13).

How will we observe this time of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting?

The original story can be found at the Catholic Advance.

Most Rev. Jackels is the Bishop of Wichita, Kansas.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
22

Liturgical Calendar

August 22, 2014

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 22:34-40

Gospel
Date
08/22/14
08/19/14
08/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 37: 1-14
Gospel:: Mt 22: 34-40

Saint of the Day

Queenship of Mary »

Saint
Date
08/19/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 22:34-40

Homily
Date
08/22/14
08/19/14
08/18/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: