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Journey to the Cross: Fasting for Lent

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

Practical Suggestions for Fasting

More than a 40 day diet


Fasting is an act of self-denial.  Often it refers to food, but broadly speaking it is giving up something that is good for the purpose of deepening our spiritual life and making acts of reparation for our sin or the sin of others. 


Deacon Mike Bickerstaff at Integrated Catholic explains:



[Fasting] also serves to be a penance or a sacrifice - for the purpose of strengthening us. When we don't eat, for even a little while, we get hungry. When we get hungry, we have a heightened sense of awareness. If, when we eat too much, we have a sluggish feeling, when we fast, we have a feeling of alertness. Fasting is a wonderful exercise whenever we want to sincerely ask for an important grace from God. It is not that our fasting "earns" God's attention, but by fasting, we clarify our thinking and our feeling. It is purifying and prepares us to pray more deeply.


Journey to the Cross: Prayer for Lent

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

FREE Prayer Plan Worksheet

It all Starts with Prayer


Without prayer, our Lenten observances (getting ashes, giving up sweets, abstaining from meat on Fridays, dropping coins in the Rice Bowl) are traditions without meaning.


St. Clement of Alexandria (third century) defined prayer as "conversation with God" - a conversation that never ends.  In the Scriptures, St. Paul says: "Pray at all times" (Eph 6:18); "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:1); and "be constant in prayer" (Rom 12:12). He saw prayer as endless conversation.


Mike Aquilina understands that this call seems a tad unrealistic to many of us:

Full Contact Faith During Lent: Almsgiving

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

3 PIllars of Lent

This is part of a 3 part series on the 3 Pillars of Lent.  Read the parts on Prayer and Fasting for more ideas on how to make your faith Full Contact this Lent!




 


While it may seem sometimes that being a Catholic Christian is a passive, primarily mental activity, the reality is that being a follower of Christ is a full-time, full-contact sport.


As Father Sergius Halvorsen points out, St. Paul often uses sports imagery when speaking about what it means to be a true disciple of Christ.



He says that he does not run aimlessly, nor does he "box as one beating the air." Rather, he "pommels" his body and subdues it. (1 Cor 9:24-7)...[he] encourages us to "run with perseverance the race that is set before us" (Heb 12:1) because our goal is a heavenly prize.


 


St. Paul points out that athletes exercise self-control in all things in order to be victorious (1Cor 9:25).  If athletic discipline was obvious in St. Paul’s day, then it should be even more obvious in our culture with its preoccupation with professional sports.  The athlete cannot pigeonhole his or her athletic life.  One cannot eat junk food and sit on the couch throughout the off-season and expect to make the team. Similarly, Christ challenges us to follow Him three hundred sixty five days a year, which means that we lead a life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.



Full Contact Faith During Lent: Fasting

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

3 PIllars of Lent

This is part of a 3 part series on the 3 Pillars of Lent.  Read the parts on Prayer and Almsigiving for more ideas on how to make your faith Full Contact this Lent!




While it may seem sometimes that being a Catholic Christian is a passive, primarily mental activity, the reality is that being a follower of Christ is a full-time, full-contact sport.


As Father Sergius Halvorsen points out, St. Paul often uses sports imagery when speaking about what it means to be a true disciple of Christ.



He says that he does not run aimlessly, nor does he "box as one beating the air." Rather, he "pommels" his body and subdues it. (1 Cor 9:24-7)...[he] encourages us to "run with perseverance the race that is set before us" (Heb 12:1) because our goal is a heavenly prize.


 


St. Paul points out that athletes exercise self-control in all things in order to be victorious (1Cor 9:25).  If athletic discipline was obvious in St. Paul’s day, then it should be even more obvious in our culture with its preoccupation with professional sports.  The athlete cannot pigeonhole his or her athletic life.  One cannot eat junk food and sit on the couch throughout the off-season and expect to make the team. Similarly, Christ challenges us to follow Him three hundred sixty five days a year, which means that we lead a life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.



Weight Training: Fasting


In the last thirty years or so, strength conditioning has been embraced as an essential part of all athletic training. From dancers to linebackers, all athletes require muscular strength and conditioning in order to perform well. Fasting is very much like weight training, however, instead of strengthening our physical muscles it strengthens our will.


Full Contact Faith During Lent: Prayer

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

3 PIllars of Lent

This is part of a 3 part series on the 3 Pillars of Lent.  Read the parts on Fasting and Almsgiving for more ideas on how to make your faith Full Contact this Lent!




While it may seem sometimes that being a Catholic Christian is a passive, primarily mental activity, the reality is that being a follower of Christ is a full-time, full-contact sport.


As Father Sergius Halvorsen points out, St. Paul often uses sports imagery when speaking about what it means to be a true disciple of Christ.



He says that he does not run aimlessly, nor does he "box as one beating the air." Rather, he "pommels" his body and subdues it. (1 Cor 9:24-7)...[he] encourages us to "run with perseverance the race that is set before us" (Heb 12:1) because our goal is a heavenly prize.

St. Paul points out that athletes exercise self-control in all things in order to be victorious (1Cor 9:25).  If athletic discipline was obvious in St. Paul’s day, then it should be even more obvious in our culture with its preoccupation with professional sports.  The athlete cannot pigeonhole his or her athletic life.  One cannot eat junk food and sit on the couch throughout the off-season and expect to make the team. Similarly, Christ challenges us to follow Him three hundred sixty five days a year, which means that we lead a life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. 



Cardio Training: Prayer


In the same way that cardio-vascular exercise strengthens our physical heart, prayer strengthens our spiritual hearts. To pray means that we take time every day to intentionally still our minds and focus on the person of Jesus.  We listen to God speaking to us in the silence, or in His Word and we talk to him.  Just like with cardio workouts, the more time we spend in prayer strenghtening our spiritual hearts, the easier it becomes to have longer sessions with greater intensity.


heart-health-prayer


Prayer opens our hearts and minds to the love of God, and allows us to be filled with the grace which God abundantly pours out upon us.


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