April 17, 2024

As a devout Catholic, I understand that Lent is the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter. It is spiritually meaningful for millions of people worldwide. It is a period to meditate, repent, and renew, frequently accompanied by deeds of sacrifice and self-discipline. Fasting is a practice during Lent, with deep roots in numerous religious and cultural contexts. However, in contemporary times, myths and superficial observances often conceal or weaken the core of authentic fasting during Lent.
We were taught that true fasting during Lent goes beyond simply abstaining from particular meals or indulgences. It entails a significant spiritual journey aiming at purifying the soul, developing empathy, and growing closer to God. The traditional disciplines of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are integrated to help us develop a stronger connection to our faith and a better awareness of ourselves. True fasting is more than simply abstaining from certain foods or habits. It entails an effort to disengage from worldly distractions and cravings, refocusing attention on spiritual nutrition and reflection. Individuals who refrain from food or pleasures are encouraged to concentrate on their connection with God, seek forgiveness for their shortcomings, and strive for personal progress. Furthermore, authentic fasting goes beyond personal piety to include actions of compassion and justice for others. It encourages us to sympathize with the plight of those less fortunate, developing a sense of solidarity and kindness. Individuals demonstrate dedication to social justice and the relief of human suffering by giving alms and serving others, embodying the principles of love and compassion that are important to many religious traditions.
In essence, authentic fasting during Lent is an experience that involves the body, mind, and spirit. It’s a transformation process that requires us to face our flaws, cultivate virtues, and strengthen our relationship with God. By practicing self-discipline, prayer, and acts of charity, we embark on a journey of spiritual renewal and growth, preparing our hearts to fully embrace the joy and significance of Easter.
As Lent approaches each year, may we remember the true essence of fasting – not merely as a ritual observance, but as a profound opportunity for spiritual renewal and transformation. May we approach this sacred season with sincerity, humility, and a genuine desire to draw closer to the divine, enriching our lives and communities with the blessings of true fasting.