Preparing Youth and Young Adults on Fasting, Abstaining and Almsgiving
By Juan Rodriguez of DHT
During Ash Wednesday and Good Friday the Church together fasts and abstains from meat. Every Friday during Lent we simply abstain from meat and offer our hearts to those in need. It is always good to go to your pastor or your spiritual director to get his advice on whether you can fast during the season (meaning everyday) or every Friday. Please, do it with his guidance.
How do we fast?
When it comes to breakfast and lunch, we do not eat all of our meal, nor do we eat breakfast and lunch as though we just filled ourselves with one meal. Both Breakfast and Lunch should not equal ONE MEAL. We only eat a small portion of food to sustain us during the day.
As for dinner, we can eat a whole meal, BUT DON'T O.D. (Over Do It)! The point of fasting is to prepare our hearts for Jesus, to pray for the conversion of families, our community, our society, and our world. It is also offered for the needy. Fasting gives us strength to serve all with a open heart. We also fast to pray for those who will prepare for Baptism, Communion and Confirmation on Easter.
It is important to note that youth under 18 years of age do not have to fast, but those 18 years and up are obligated to join us.
How do we abstain from meat?
We do not eat meat: Beef, pork, chicken, lamb (Only the Lamb of God who is Jesus), or any cooked animal. We can eat fish, milk, cheese, veggies, fruit, bread, and anything that does not have the taste of meat. You CAN eat foods that have condiments made with the fat of animals (The only acception). Teens who are 14 and up are obligated to abstain from meat. Parents are welcome to encourage their child(ren) to abstain from meat - it's a family thang!
We Fast and Abstain from meat to do penance; to humble our bodies, our mind, and our souls, submitting to the grace of God who will remove our sins and prepare us to enter Heaven. We Fast and Abstain so that together we may confess our sins before God and His Priests.
Finally, How do we give to the needy?
The needy are all around you, not just the homeless, or poor families, but your friends, family, and neighbors. When we give, it is not only in money or in clothing, but from our hearts. God is calling us to share our gifts and talents, ESPECIALLY during a time when so many need of us. We do not have to go far, nor hear gossip, simply turn on your TV, read the newspaper, look at the way the streets are kept, how your neighborhoods look or even your churches. If God is inviting you to change, how much more is He calling you to be light to our beloved New York and the world.
Answer His call today and make the difference.
Begin your Fast, Abstain from Meat, and give the Needy! Remember, be an echo of the Gospel.