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Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season.
In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God's gifts—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. John Chrysostom reminds us: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life.
The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. Lent is a favourable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ."-- Pope Francis In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.
We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ's death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.
On these pages, you will find a variety of suggestions and resources to help you "raise up," "sacrifice," and "offer" during this Lent and to embrace your baptismal commitment. Bishops' statement, "God's Gift of Forgiveness: The Pastoral Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation" can be distributed and shared in parishes.
The Great Fast, as we know it today, is the result of a most complicated historical development, not all stages of which have been, so far, sufficiently explained.
It seems that in the second century, the Church knew only a very short fast (a day or two) before the Pasch.
During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms, and to sacrifice self-control through fasting.
The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal.
We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ.