The Catholic Church invites us to fast, give alms, and pray during the Lenten season in order to grow stronger in our faith.
Starting with Ash Wednesday, and for the next forty days, we as Catholics are required to abstain from meat each Friday and fast on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Additionally, the Church asks us to sacrifice during Lent. Why sacrifice you may ask? I believe the best answer to this question may be that, through self-denial, we have the opportunity to place God first. Fr. Willie referred to this during his homily on Wednesday. He mentioned that self-denial allows us to focus on something greater than ourselves. St. Ignatius, in his Spiritual Exercises, also states that love is shown more in deeds than in words. We can apply this principle to sacrifice. A sacrifice involves taking action. We can either perform a task that requires the use of our time or talents, or we can give something up that we enjoy and offer our discomfort to God. Either way, sacrifice forces us to let go of our desires and open our hearts to make room for God.
Almsgiving and prayer are also vital during Lent. Giving to the poor is always important, but during Lent we should make it a priority. Finding time to pray is essential for our relationship with God as well. I recently read that the reason we pray is to become more of who we are. Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, when we pray we become more and more like God. To this end, I highly recommend the Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website - www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm as an avenue for prayer and meditation. This website provides a daily, two to three minute video reflection based on the readings of the day.
May we find time during this Lenten season to follow the prescribed practices our Catholic Church recommends in order to grow closer to Christ and truly feel the joy of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Click here to read the fasting and abstinence rules for Lent. Click here to view pictures of our Ash Wednesday masses.
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain. The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline. In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.