GUIDE TO MAKING A SPIRITUALLY PROFITABLE LENT IN
PREPARATION FOR THE PROPER CELEBRATION OF EASTER
The Lenten discipline consists of three separate parts:
1. Corporal or External Fast, including the abstinence from certain foods, drinks, and amusements, i.e. music, and parties during Lent.
These points of fast should be stressed today especially with the mania for entertainment besetting our society;
2. Spiritual or Internal Fast which consists of abstinence from all evil----sin.
Saint John Chrysostom taught that the "value of fasting consists not so much in abstinence from food but rather in withdrawal from sinful practices."
And Saint Basil the Great explains: "Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, suppressing evil desires, and avoiding all gossiping and swearing. To abstain from these things----herein lies the true value of fast!"
3. Spiritual Change achieved by the practice of virtues and good works must be the main objective of our fasting.
The Fathers of the Church insisted that during Lent the faithful attend the Lenten church services and daily Mass.
In the course of the centuries, our fasting discipline has undergone numerous and radical changes. Today, unfortunately, the observance of Lent is but mere formalism, reduced to abstinence on certain days and without any stress on one's spiritual growth or the amending of one's life style.
It is urgent that we return to the pristine spirit of the Great Fast which is so badly needed in our materialistic world.