fasting

POPE’S MESSAGE | Fasting during Lent includes sharing, treating others kindly

Pope Francis heard confession at his annual Lenten meeting with the pastors of Rome parishes Feb. 15 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The meeting included prayer, confessions and a question-and-answer session with the pope.

VATICAN CITY — Loudly boasting or complaining about fasting during Lent and treating others unkindly isn't what God wants, Pope Francis said.

"Does my fasting end up helping others? If it doesn't, it's fake, it's contradictory and it leads to the path of a double life. I pretend to be Christian — righteous like the Pharisees, the Sadducees — but inside I am not," he said in the homily Feb. 16 at morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Fasting is a wake-up call to our habits

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

As Lent gets underway, people sometimes wonder: Why do we fast? I'd like to propose some answers to that question in the next two articles.

On the simplest level, we fast because the Church asks us to. Simple obedience is a great reason to start fasting, and a great reason to continue to fast, and a great support when we're tempted to give up on fasting.

Though it's a good place to start, it would be sad if our understanding and practice of fasting stopped there.

On a deeper level, we fast as a wake-up call to our bad habits, and a wake-up call to good habits.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Lent, a season of joy

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

The prayers of Mass refer to Lent as a "joyful season." But many people think of Lent as a sad time -- either because they're engaged in prayer, fasting and almsgiving and feel sorry about what they're giving up, or because they aren't engaged in prayer, fasting and almsgiving and feel guilty about what they're not giving up. Why should we -- and how can we -- think of Lent as a joyful season?

Editorial | Yippee! A time of renewal

We often hear there are 40 days of Lent. That's close, but not really true.

When you count the days from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday, there are 46. According to the U.S. bishops' website, it might be more accurate to say that there is a "40-day fast within Lent." The Sundays of Lent are certainly in Lent, but they aren't prescribed days of fast and abstinence owing to the fact that the Church considers every Sunday as a "Little Easter."

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