Fasting: Ways to Deny Yourself
A “quarantine” is literally a period of forty days, usually a period of isolation designed to prevent the spread of disease. It’s striking that the current call to self-quarantine is happening during the forty-day season of Lent. Let us take advantage of this opportunity to isolate ourselves from the contagions of the world, the flesh, and the devil through fasting and self-denial.
- Renew your commitment to the obligatory Lenten practices of the Church: abstaining from eating meat on Fridays, fasting and abstaining from meat on Good Friday, and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation (at least once a year).
- Fast each Friday and/or other days. One traditional option is to extend the Good Friday fast until the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.
- Give up everyday luxuries you enjoy, such as hot showers, desserts, sweets, sweetened drinks, alcohol, snacking, and/or a favorite food.
- Give up or limit your access to the internet, social media, your smartphone or other devices, TV, movies, videos, and/or video games. Spend your extra time in prayer, spiritual reading, quality time with your family, and service to others.
- Make time for prayerful silence by giving up music and other audio.
- Lenten veiling is a sort of fasting from the use of holy images during the final two weeks of Lent, a time when we especially focus on the Lord’s Passion. Cover or hide crucifixes and other devotional images to remind yourself of our separation from heaven, which is remedied by Christ’s Passion and Resurrection.
Almsgiving: How to Help
Many people are suffering during this pandemic and not only those who are sick. Virus-related disruptions will cause hardships for our neighbors. Prayerfully consider what you can do to serve Christ in the poor and vulnerable.
- Check in with your neighbors, fellow parishioners you know, friends, family members, and others who may need assistance, especially those who are most vulnerable during this time (e.g. the homebound and the elderly). Share prayers, words of encouragement, and any concrete aid that you can. This could include shopping, picking up prescriptions, providing meals, helping with childcare, or financial assistance. If you can’t help them yourself, direct them others in our community.
- Our parish continues to have financial needs during the pandemic. We rely on parishioners’ generosity even more in order to provide aid to those seeking assistance.
- Help with a local food distribution program.
- During this time of fear and anxiety, share the peace and hope you have in Christ with your family, friends, and other people you know.