We are not quite a week into Lent yet, having begun on Ash Wednesday.  Our priest had been telling us in the 3 weeks preceding Lent to begin to plan, to prepare our attack on our sinful inclinations and overindulgence.  He encouraged us to be thinking about our own Lent during that time when the Eastern half of the Catholic Church was already into Lent.  Their preparation was incremental.  To see what I mean by that, read this informative article.

This is a good article to read and meditate upon, because what we are asked to do seems so trivial by comparison.  Our Holy Father, in his lenten message for all of us, has explained clearly the what and the why of fasting.  He says that in our culture fasting is “a therapeutic value for the care of one’s body. Fasting certainly bring benefits to physical well-being, but for believers, it is, in the first place, a “therapy” to heal all that prevents them from conformity to the will of God.”   It brings us solidarity with the poor who are often hungry, and it disposes us to partake more of prayer and the word of God. 

So if you haven’t noticed the positive effects of a bit of deprivation, perhaps it would be good to re-examine your lenten plan and to polish up your weapons for the 40-day-less-6-battle of the remaining days before Easter.  And don’t forget about almsgiving–the money you save from the soda or wine you aren’t drinking, or the candy you aren’t eating, or the simple meals you are preparing instead of heavier fare can go to buy food for your local soup kitchen or for the support of a ministry to the poor.  Hopefully, when we celebrate Easter we will look back on Lent and thank God for that great gift from Holy Mother Church.