Sunday, March 1, 2009


MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
BENEDICT XVI

FOR LENT 2009

"He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry" (Mt 4,1-2)

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

At the beginning of Lent, which constitutes an itinerary of more intense spiritual training, the Liturgy sets before us again three penitential practices that are very dear to the biblical and Christian tradition – prayer, almsgiving, fasting – to prepare us to better celebrate Easter and thus experience God’s power that, as we shall hear in the Paschal Vigil, “dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride” (Paschal Præconium ). For this year’s Lenten Message, I wish to focus my reflections especially on the value and meaning of fasting. Indeed, Lent recalls the forty days of our Lord’s fasting in the desert, which He undertook before entering into His public
ministry. We read in the Gospel: “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry” (Mt 4,1-2). Like Moses, who fasted before receiving the tablets of the Law (cf. Ex 34,28) and Elijah’s fast before meeting the Lord on Mount Horeb (cf. 1 Kings 19,8), Jesus, too, through prayer and fasting, prepared Himself for the mission that lay before Him, marked at the start by a serious battle with the tempter.(click on above link for entire story)


"The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday [Canon 97] to the 59th Birthday [i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday] to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Alcoholic beverages do not break the fast; however, they seem contrary to the spirit of doing penance." (EWTN, The Holy Season of Lent)

I myself am a supporter of the fast, and on fast days I even try to avoid the collations ( I did pretty good Friday). I am really trying to make this Lenten season better than the past few years. I have in the past given up lame-o things, things my Doctor would have me give up anyway, and it never seems to come out to anything more than a lack-luster effort at best. This year though, I'm going in the opposite direction. Once a week I plan on either throwing out a bag of stuff I don't need cluttering up my life, or I'll give away a bag of stuff to charity. One a week, I think that's a good start, don't you? I'm also going to volunteer to help the Knights of Columbus out with the Lenten meal preparations again. I haven't done that in quite a few years, and I feel as if the time might have come to start volunteering with them again. I don't want a position in the council or anything, but I need to help out around the Parish more. My problem is, every year I make these plans, and I never carry them out, so I have to change my tactics, approach it all from a different angle. Does anyone else have any suggestions for me?


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