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Most practicing Catholics know what is expected and required of us during the Season of Lent. We talk about giving something up for Lent. We want to make Lent special. Most Catholics want Lent to be a spiritual experience, a truly life changing experience. We hope to approach Easter Sunday with hearts overflowing with love for God and a raised awareness and ardent appreciation of the great sacrifice Jesus made for us. In a way we go into our own desert for 40 days as Jesus did.


To indeed have a virtuous Lenten experience it’s necessary to know and follow The Three Pillars of Lent., Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

These 3 Essential Pillars Help Us Discover The Purpose Of Lent

What is the purpose of Lent?

Lent is not simply a way to renew your commitment to a New Year’s resolution or jump start your diet. It’s much more than a tradition or ritual. Lent should be a time of spiritual renewal and purification that ultimately leads us to Christ.

It’s easy to get caught up in the goals that we have set for ourselves during Lent and to become fixated on the results that we desire, but we must remember that if we have not grown deeper in love with the Lord, our accomplishments are in vain.

Keeping our eyes fixed on Christ will help us stay strong in our Lenten sacrifices and offerings. When we purposefully fast, give alms, and pray with a heart that desires to know Jesus and serve Him, our actions move beyond requirements and rules. It is this type of Lent that will lead to a joyous Easter morning and a true celebration of the Risen Lord.


CCC 2564: Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and man springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.

The more we pray from the heart, the more we want to pray and the greater will be our ability to feel the presence of God. Remember our prayer is the holy covenant relationship between God and us.

If we desire to get closer to Our Lord it may be necessary to increase our prayer life. There are many ways to add prayer to our daily prayer routine. It’s up to us to evaluate how much we pray and decide what we can add. Consider finding time to pray with others at home or at church such as the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. Drop into the church for at least 10 minutes a couple of times a week, kneeling or sitting before the Blessed Sacrament, quietly loving Our Lord. Find out when your parish will be praying the “Stations of the Cross” together and mark your calendar to participate.

As we make our prayers, let pray with regards to the 'Spiritual Works of Mercy':

counsel the doubtful

instruct the ignorant

admonish sinners

comfort the afflicted

forgive offenses

bear wrongs patiently

pray for the living and the dead

Prayer is extremely important. Prayer bonds us to God. When we pray, we let God know we believe in Him. When we pray we learn to feel God’s love in our hearts. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has very much to say about prayer:


Fasting is difficult for everyone. Fasting takes a lot of effort and dedication as we offer up to Our Lord the food we’re not eating. Think about this, if we follow the guidelines for adult fast during Lent we’ll always be aware that it’s the Season of Lent. There’s no way we can forget why we’re fasting. Isn’t this what we want? To have Jesus on our mind every day during Lent? Maybe if we’re able to stick with the fast during Lent, we’ll be blessed to have Jesus stay in our mind and hearts even after Lent is over.

“Fasting is one of the most ancient actions linked to Lent. Fasting rules have changed through the ages, but throughout Church history fasting has been considered sacred. The prophet Isaiah insists that fasting without changing our behavior is not pleasing to God. Therefore, the goal of fasting is linked with prayer. The pangs of hunger remind us of our hunger for God, and prayer and fasting together brings us to what Lent is about - a deeper conversion.” (Encyclopedia of Catholic Spirituality and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)

Fasting goes very well with prayer. It’s like salt and pepper, they just work well together. One reason is that by fasting we deny our human appetites, both literally and figuratively, and can focus more intensely on our prayer.

We don't only fast by not eating food or drinking water, we can also fast by abstaining from what we like doing; all to the great glory of God.

Something else to think about, if we offer our fast for a special intention or petition such as World Peace, fasting let’s God know how serious we are about our petition. What are we willing to give up for World Peace or an end to abortion or some other concern close to our heart.


there are only two days of the year that Latin Rite Catholics are required to fast. One is Ash Wednesday and the other is Good Friday. In fact, both days are days of fasting and abstinence. What’s the difference between the two, you may ask.

On days of fasting we are to eat only one meal, If needed, two smaller meals (not adding up to more than one regular meal) may be eaten at regular mealtime.

On days of abstinence, which are somewhat optional throughout the year we are to abstain from eating meat. Almost everyone knows that Good Friday is a day of abstinence, but a surprising amount of people forget that Ash Wednesday is too.

Also even though Fridays throughout the year have had their law of abstinence loosened, in that you may replace abstaining from meat with some other form of penance or corporal work of mercy, during Lent all Fridays are days of abstinence.


When we think of almsgiving with think of donating money. Almsgiving extends beyond money we might give.

Almsgiving encompasses our time and talent given freely to be Jesus in disguise. Jesus identified himself with our poorest brothers and sisters.

Whoever possesses the goods of this world, and sees his brother to be in need, and yet closes his heart to him: in what way does the love of God abide in him? (1 John 3:17) Giving alms might be difficult if we’re on a tight budget but if we think about it most of us are much better off than much of the world’s population. This is a hard fact to consider. Jesus said we must give to the poor. “…Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these least of brethren, you did it to me.”

Muslims are required to give alms as a kind of tax. “The Arabic word for this pillar (almsgiving) is ‘Zakah’ better translated as purification and growth. Muslims are encouraged to do charitable acts every day of their lives and as much as possible.” (Voices of Faith – Muhammad Malik) All Muslims, poor or rich are obliged to do charitable works and to be aware of the needs of others. There’s no stigma to being poor in Islam. The poor are holy and close to God because they’re poor. By their very existence, the poor enable others the chance for Zakah, which helps all Muslims move toward purification and growth.

Christians and Muslims are in union in the belief of the importance of almsgiving. We are encouraged to do charitable acts every day and to pay attention to the needs of others.

Let give arms in regards to the 'Corporal Works of Mercy':

feed the hungry

give drink to the thirsty

clothe the naked

shelter the homeless

visit the sick

visit the imprisoned

bury the dead

“For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into Darkness. Indeed, almsgiving, for all who practice it, is an excellent offering in the presence of the Most High,” (Tobit 4:10-11)


We are not called to do only one, but all three pillars to prepare our hearts for Christ on Easter. As Catholics we take up the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving every year.

These practices help us to remember the merciful love and compassion that God shows all people. Participating in these practices, we journey with our community and God and toward the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of our Lord.

We have blessed opportunities to get closer to Our Lord! To get closer to Our Lord now! Let’s take advantage of this opportunity for holiness and not let this Lent pass us by!

“God’s becoming man is a great mystery! But the reason for all this is His love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved…

Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance.” Pope Francis


=> The Holy Bible

=> Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

We have come to a conclusion on the topic THE THREE PILLARS OF LENT

Thanks for your participation, support and contributions. May the God in his infinite mercy continue to be bless and grant you more understanding of his words; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.




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