I refer to Ash Wednesday as a Holy Day of INVITATION. An invitation is given from the Holy Spirit, acting through the Church, the Body of Christ, inviting us into forty days of prayer, repentance, fasting, interior house cleaning, conversion and charity. It is a time to begin anew, in the Lord.
Fasting and Abstinence. Are they important? Are they necessary? The Church, as a caring mother, is providing us a specific means and season for completing acts of penance, such as fasting and abstinence. Her goal is to see to it that her children attain eternal life. Her precept on fasting, then, is for our spiritual benefit.
The spiritual benefits of fasting are many. Not only is it an excellent means of engaging in penance, as Christians are required to do, but it confers other benefits such as helping to build self-mastery, the control of the soul over the desires of the flesh.
It’s the sacred season of Lent. The three disciplines of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. One of the questions people frequently have about Lent pertains to fasting.
The season of Lent is penitential in character. Blessed Paul VI teaches in his apostolic constitution Paenitemini that “by divine law all the faithful are required to do penance” (Chapter III, I., 1).