Lent Has Begun

March 6, 2019Rita

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent for Catholics as well as other religions. So just what is Lent? Well Lent is the forty-day liturgical season of fasting, special prayer and alms (charity) giving in preparation for Easter. I know that sounds like a lot but it really isn’t. At least not as much as you think.

Ashes on Your Head

You are going to see lots of people walking around with ashes on their heads today. The ashes are a sign of penance as we get ready for Easter. It is really that simple.

Who is Required to Fast

Fasting is one of the ways we celebrate Lent. However not everyone is required to fast for obvious health concerns. Only adult Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are required to fast and the required fasting days are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

However, all Catholics 14 and older are obliged to refrain from eating meat which we do on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday. Actually, Church Law says that we shouldn’t eat meat any Friday of the year but here in the United States we may perform another penance if we choose. Fish is allowed because it is not considered meat. That is why you will find fish served at many restaurants on Fridays.

Fasting doesn’t mean not eating at all. It is simply eating no more than one full meal and two light meals as needed to maintain your health. You can drink whatever throughout the day but not meat based broths. Since I am a diabetic and required to eat slightly more I make adjustments and add in more penance. The Church doesn’t want you to make yourself sick.

Giving Something Up

Many Catholics will give something up for Lent. Such as a favorite drink or a food they love. It is our way of turning away from our selfishness and knowing that God will take care of our needs. For me (and I actually started this just before Lent) I am giving up all unnecessary spending. I have a horrible habit of just buying whatever I want when I want it without always thinking it through. I am not doing that anymore.

I am also going to stop stressing so much about money. I told God just what I need to earn each money to be comfortable. Guess what, I stopped stressing so much starting on Monday and I have almost made what I need for the month in the last two days.

Another thing I am giving up is taking sides when it comes to my siblings. It is stressful because I feel as though I have to choose and I refuse to do that any longer. I don’t want to come to end of my life and feel as though I didn’t do more to bring us together as a family.

Are you celebrating Lent? Tell us about it in the comments below.

14 Comments

  • Beth

    March 6, 2019 at 11:46 am

    I am so happy that I happened to see your post today. I completely forgot it was Ash Wednesday. Thank you for the reminder of the importance of the day!

  • Sandra Preti

    March 6, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    I’m giving up soda. Thanks for sharing!

  • Darla Peduzzi

    March 6, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    My husband and I were just talking about the ages required to fast. He’s 59, so he’s still required to do so. This was a nice article.

  • Marisela Zuniga

    March 6, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    I grew up going to a catholic church but i stopped attending church when i was about 18 or 19.

  • Natalie

    March 7, 2019 at 7:48 am

    I was just at the grocery store and am noticing a lot of sales on fish and seafood. It makes sense because of lent!

  • Mary Gardner

    March 7, 2019 at 9:41 am

    I am not Catholic but I know many people including my family that go out to have a seafood dinner on Fridays. Now I know where we got that tradition.

  • Dana Rodriguez

    March 7, 2019 at 11:37 am

    I am not Catholic so I don’t know much about it. This is a really interesting article!

  • Audrey Stewart

    March 9, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I am Catholic and observe all the holy days. My sister-in-law has been a cloistered nun for over 30 years. She lives in a convent about 4 hours from us. She will come visit after Easter.

  • Dorothy Boucher

    March 9, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    I often feel we should give up more than what we do, after all He has given up something wonderful! , beautiful!, with so much love, So I have chosen to give up playing any scratch tickets for the month of March, And also working out. Now you say how can working out be given up anything, because it has, less food, more water, not being lazy and sitting on the computer all day but doing exercises, it gives me more time to study my Bible, his words, and pray and be still in silence, giving more thanks.
    @tisonlyme143

  • Natalie

    March 12, 2019 at 8:18 am

    My stepfather is Catholic and I had no idea that not everyone has to fast. I respect his adherence to Lent every year.

  • bn100

    March 12, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    interesting info

  • Dianna

    March 13, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    I grew up in an area where there was a large Catholic church. We had fish on Friday at school, and many of my friends gave up something for Lent. I’d forgotten all about it, since where I live now doesn’t have many Catholic churchgoers. I go to a non-denominational Christian church so we just celebrate Easter Sunday.

  • Laurie Emerson

    March 15, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    I am giving up all sweet desserts for Lent this year.

  • Megan Cromes

    March 21, 2019 at 10:59 am

    i grew up catholic .

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