Lent is a time of retreat in the real sense of that term: me of turning back, of turning away from that which is dangerous to our spiritual growth, a time of turning to the Lord.
Lent is a time for the entire family to make a wholehearted effort to be more attentive to one another and to the Lord. It is a time to treat ourselves to the good in God and in one another, to the new life that can be ours.
But fasting is more than doing without food. Our Lenten fast can mean more doing without other things as well. For example:
- Do without a little sleep; use the time to read or pray.
- Do without anger, impatience, or whatever really hinders you from living the gospel message of love.
- Do without the radio or cellphone for a time each day; treat yourself and those around you to the joy of a little silence.
- Limit TV to one hour a day.
- Take fewer drugs (from aspirin to alcohol).
- If you are a night owl, let go of the day’s activities and go to bed an hour earlier each night. (If you can’t sleep, use that me for meditation.
- Take some time for something you usually do for yourself, such as reading a good novel, to write to neglected family member or friend.
Many of these actions mean fasting from selfishness and the status-seeking of our own egos, and allowing ourselves to be a bit more vulnerable. They might be more difficult than eating less food, but they are forms of fasting nonetheless and can retreat us to the Christian values of love and joy.
By FATHER JIM
Ash Wednesday photo gallery
The season of Lent began Ash Wednesday, March 6. The following are images from the 8:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Father Luis. To learn more about what you can do during Lent and what’s upcoming in the parish, click here.