Lent 2021 | Fasting

Week 1

History

While many are familiar with the fasting regulations of the Church, including the standard "one full meal and two lesser ones not equaling it," how did the Church arrive at these regulations?  Where did it all begin?

Fasting during Lent has a fascinating history and ever-evolving role in the Lenten season, though it continues to be one of the traditional and foundational themes.  The History of Lent by Fr. William Saunders includes great detail about the evolution of fasting during Lent - from 40 days of abstaining from food and drink to the more loose interpretations of today - and the common practice of giving something up for Lent.

While the article Why Catholics Fast: Searching for the Tradition by Carole Garibaldi Rogers in America is almost 20 years old, the history and explanation for fasting in the church is enlightening and examines the discipline in light of today's world.

Two questions arose: is there a place for Lenten fasting in contemporary Catholic spirituality? And how would such a discipline be constructed not only in light of Scripture and tradition, but also in light of contemporary insights and concerns?

Fasting Resources

This week, we share an article pertinent to our time Lenten Fast in a Global Pandemic, which looks at the four reasons for fasting and how to use the practice to better reflect on the experience of this pandemic.

Four Reasons for Fasting: 

1. Preparation for a feast

2. Penance and atonement for sins

3. Acknowledgment that all we have comes from God

4. Solidarity with those who live in want

Week 2

Focusing Our Fast

This reflection in the Ignatian Lent series highlights Eric Clayton, Senior Communications Manager, Jesuit Conference. Here, listen to his reflection "Fasting as Contemplation in Action."  How might your fasting be a reflection of Ignatius' call to be contemplatives in action?

Give new dimension to your fasting this year by choosing an intention behind it.

Eating Simply

Eating simply during Lent does not have to be dull. Search these meatless recipes from around the world, compiled by CRS Rice Bowl. Or find inspiration from Creighton Online Ministries' Cooking Lent page. 

Do you have a traditional or favorite family Lent recipe to share with the group? Email the recipe so we can share it with the group!

While fasting is about going without, think more about what you can gain, who you can invite in, and what you might just have left over to GIVE this Lent.