How will you grow in faith during this Lenten season? The three pillars of Lenten observance are a great place to start: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The Most Rev. David Ricken, Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, joined The Drew Mariani ShowTM to discuss Lent and how we can make the most of it.
The term Lent means springtime. When spring comes, we think about spring-cleaning. “It’s the same thing with our spiritual life, in the life of the Church it’s time for spring housecleaning. Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are three ways that the Church recommends to us, both personally and individually, that we really do some spring housecleaning. We get rid of debris and stuff that’s out of order and we put order back into our lives by simplifying our lives and putting the first things first,” explains Bishop Ricken.
“We’re supposed to pray all year round, but during Lent, and especially when you couple that with fasting, it really helps to fine-tune our awareness of the presence of God. During Lent, take on some extra prayer time as a family or an individual, and focus in on the reading for the coming Sunday or pray the Rosary together as a family. You start to move that up as one of the top priorities in your personal life, and it really starts to help you to order the rest of your life and set things in their proper place.”
“Fasting from food really liberates us from our constant preoccupation with our next meal or our next snack…just the practice of abstaining from meat or actual fasting helps us to realize we need to have more control over our impulses, and to order our impulses according to a higher priority,” says Bishop Ricken. “The pain is something that empties us of our self-concern so that there’s more room for Christ.”
“When we give to the poor, it moves us out of ourselves…It helps us to see that a lot of people have things a lot worse than I do. As you give, you recognize more and more needs of more and more people who need your help. If I’ve been blessed I have an obligation to share, and we’ve all been blessed. Even if we don’t have much, working up to a greater percentage of generosity, especially to those who have nothing, really gives you that freedom. This is all about the interior freedom to be able to be possessed by God.”