Some Notes on Fasting (Or Why Doing "Something Extra" for Lent is Not Enough)

The conversation starts as Ash Wednesday approaches: “What are you giving up for Lent?” Over the years I’ve heard people respond, “I’m not giving anything up this year. I’m doing something extra.” I used to be one of them - that is, until I realized that isn’t enough. That “something extra” can be a great…

How to Choose a Lenten Penance

Lent is a great experience of spiritual solidarity for Catholics. We fast together, pray together, and fall in love again with the central beauty of our faith: suffering never has the last word, and always has meaning in light of the cross.  The spiritual practice of fasting has the unique capacity to remind us of…

Why I Love Lent

The image I have of my soul during Lent is a dried out sponge, the kind that is hard and mangled, soaking up water until it is fresh and new and soft again.  The season is filled with beautiful messages of God’s mercy, images of God’s arms outstretched. We hear God’s voice in the scriptures through the prophet Hosea: “I will lure her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.”  At mass we sing, “Come back to me with all your heart...long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.”