Since it’s Lent, we asked Father Dindo all about the season, and some parts of it Catholics might be wondering about.
Q. How can a Catholic make the most out of Lent?
It’s best to think of Lent as a time to get your life in gear and convert your heart to be the best person you can be in God’s eyes. The Church offers us three great methods to accomplish this during the Lenten season:
- Grow in love with God through your relationship with Him by improving your prayer life. Explore new prayers and increase the frequency of your praying. You improve your human relationships through talking with others. Improve your relationship with God by talking to Him more!
- Supplement your prayer life with fasting. Give up things that you really like to do. Make sacrifices. It’s all meant to remind you of the ultimate sacrifice Christ made on the cross.
- Finally, practice alms-giving, which means more than just giving money to the poor. It includes doing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy for your brothers and sisters.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
- Feed the Hungry
- Give Drink to the Thirsty
- Shelter the Homeless
- Visit the Sick
- Visit the Prisoners
- Bury the Dead
- Give Alms to the Poor
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
- Counseling the Doubtful
- Instructing the Ignorant
- Admonishing the Sinner
- Comforting the Sorrowful
- Forgiving Injuries
- Bearing Wrongs Patiently
- Praying for the Living and the Dead
Q. Why do we have to give something up for Lent?
The practice of giving something up for Lent begins with Jesus Himself, who fasted for 40 days in the desert before giving up His life on the cross.
Therefore, giving up things we like for Lent helps us refocus our lives and draws us closer to Jesus. It also helps us grow in self control and the virtue of temperance, reminding us to put God first in our lives.
Ultimately, giving things up and growing in temperance helps us become more faithful to God and better able to reject sins.
Q. How come we can’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent?
The Church expects us to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent as a form of fasting, again going back to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Meat was traditionally considered a meal for celebrations, so giving it up on Fridays meant recognizing that Jesus suffered on that day and that we should unite our suffering with His, abstaining from any kind of celebration.
Fasting helps us grow in the virtue of temperance and focus less on the things of this world, instead focusing ourselves on God.
Q. Are Catholics allowed to break their fasts on Sundays during Lent?
Yes. From the very earliest days, the Church has declared that Sunday, the day of Christ’s Resurrection, is always a feast day. Therefore, fasting on Sundays has always been forbidden because it’s a time to rejoice.
We can see this in the way Lent is structured itself. We all know Lent lasts 40 days, but if you count the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, you get 46. That’s because the six Sundays during Lent do not count as part of the season.
Q. What are you giving up for Lent this year?
I had originally decided to fast from social media. I’ve been spending so much time on it lately since my staff convinced me to get a Facebook account. I realize, though, that social media is a great tool to stay in touch with all the many great things going on at St. Mary Mokena, so I had to pass on that.
So, I’ve instead decided to give up my other big passion—sweets (especially Portillo’s chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies). I’ll definitely be giving that up!
>>Have questions for the next edition of our Catholic Q&A? Just ask us.