During Lent, the Church unites herself “to the mystery of Jesus in the desert” and Catholics have a duty to pray, fast and give alms.
Prayer, the first of these “three pillars”, springs from charity. It delights the soul, nourishes the intellect, and stimulates and strengthens the will to please God.
It is also often difficult, and Lent is an opportunity to form a disciplined habit of daily prayer. Begin by praying for yourself, as it is only when you become rightly disposed, through prayer, that more demanding prayers of petition can be made effectively.
The Church demands fasting only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and its rules are well-established. Many Catholics fast at least once a week during Lent, however, while secretly performing daily, or even hourly, acts of self-denial in atonement for sins and as protection against temptation.
Almsgiving can be fulfilled by giving oneself in charity and also by generously supporting the work of groups which help the poor, the homeless, the sick, the elderly, the lonely, the persecuted, the exploited, prisoners and the unborn. Be merciful, knowing that God will show you mercy in return.
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