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BEFORE THE CROSS | Lenten discipline counteracts belief that our desires define us

Lent begins this week. What's your plan?

Sometimes our Lenten disciplines feel pretty random. We give up chocolate, or beer, or whatever — not because of any intrinsic value in them, but just because we feel like we should give something up. The apparent randomness can become an argument — sometimes from others, sometimes in our own minds — against keeping up the discipline. Does it really matter?

I'm all for well-chosen Lenten disciplines. But even apparently random disciplines have tremendous value for ourselves and our world, and we should hold fast to them.

Why?

Our community shares their time-honored traditions for Lent

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Lent, a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, is the pathway toward Easter and Christ's victory over death. This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 14, and Easter Sunday is April 1.

We posed the question on social media: What are your time-honored Lenten practices? Here's what you had to say.

Make a list of 40 people to pray for. Dedicate 40 minutes a day to pray for one person each day. Or choose one person for whom to pray for 40 minutes a day for all 40 days.

Marianist group at St. Mary’s tackles racial justice topic

The topic of racial justice is one that a group focused on Marian spirituality might have been inclined to skip.

But Mary led them to it, and the result is a Lenten program being held at St. Mary's High School on Wednesday evenings with a theme of "With Mary Toward Racial Justice." The weekly presentations on Marian spirituality and racial justice are open to the public.

More than just fried cod | Lenten Fridays offer variety of dinner options beyond the standard fare

Seminarians cook their catch at Ryan Lake in Lent of 1916.

Editor's note: Updated Friday, March 3, at 10 a.m. with clarification on dispensation.

It's late afternoon on a Friday in Lent, and you're famished.

It's almost dinner time, so where do you go and what do you eat to satisfy the Lenten abstinence from meat for dinner?

The first option, of course, is a fish fry at either your parish or another in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. (Check out the St. Louis Review's map of parish fish fries to find one of the many from which to choose.)

EDITORIAL | Finding joy of Lent is possible, when viewing through the right lens

It can be difficult to imagine how it's even possible to exude joy during Lent.

Those of us who give up the regular indulgences of ordinary time — chocolate, caffeine, fast food — often find ourselves feeling melancholy, maybe even downright cranky.

We're geared to focus on the penitential nature of Lent. Focusing on our sins isn't particularly pleasant. But as Pope Francis noted in his World Communications Day message for 2017, it's all in how we look at things.

Editorial | Lent is a journey — get moving

It's called a Lenten journey for a reason.

The journey includes prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

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