Fasting, Abstinence, Sacrifices, and More

Posted originally on the CTH on March 3, 2023 | Menagerie | 34 Comments

Most people of faith have heard much about Catholic practices during Lent. Indeed, we earned the label fish eaters fair and square. Many fast food restaurants add a fish sandwich to their menu in the spring. You start seeing Friday Fish Fry signs beside Catholic churches. By the way, if you haven’t tried out a fish fry, it’s usually a good way to get a pretty good meal cheap.

We’ve had a day of fasting last week on Ash Wednesday, and we will again fast and abstain from eating meat for our one meal on Good Friday. There are also rules about Friday for the rest of the year, but I’m not wanting to talk about our Fridays so much here. Catholics know and practice these things, or they don’t.

What I would like to discuss here, and expand on to a bigger picture, is the custom of Christians who fast, or make personal sacrifices, and not just during Lent. Many Christians have found it very beneficial to choose to give up food, television, sleeping later in order to pray, or some other attachment in order to further their relationship with God. And further yet, personal sacrifices past Lent, every day struggles.

For over a year, I have used the Hallow app. I downloaded it two years ago when I first listened to the Bible in a Year podcast, which I highly recommend to you. The app is full of everything from Sunday sermons, music, daily prayers and Psalms, meditations, and of course, many seasonal aids such as those I’m using now during Lent.

I’ve found it very worthwhile during Advent, and now Lent. As I said, I use it daily now. This app is full of selections and so many celebrities and well known Catholics offer readings. There’s Jim Caviezel, Jonathan Roumie of The Chosen, Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. Mike Schmidt,  and Mark Wahlberg to name a few.

So, I’m wondering, do Protestants have such apps? If so, which ones have you tried, and what would you recommend to others?

The Hallow app has many fine things that Protestant Christians would appreciate and use, and I highly recommend it to all. There must be other resources you use, both during seasons such as Lent, and as an aid daily as well.

What prompted this post is my reflection on how much better I usually do with my resolutions and practices during Advent, and especially during Lent. I recognize that one of the several reasons for this is the use of the app. Another is the fact the the seriousness and purpose of Lent itself is, of course, highly motivating.

But there’s also the fact that I have lots of company in this journey, both at home, and among my fellow Christians, fellow parishioners, and many others who share thoughts and inspiration as we look toward Good Friday.

I’m thinking about perhaps doing a once a week post, not just for Lent, to help each other out in our struggles and sacrifices. Sure, I hope some will share their spiritual goals and struggles. I also hope we could expand that to more mundane struggles and offer encouragement, ideas, success stories, and well, hope.

So, would you find interest in such a post? If so, what day of the week would you prefer? My first thought was Friday, because that’s on my mind right now, but in the larger perspective, perhaps Sunday or Monday would be a more motivational choice?

Any other tips or ideas for the structuring of the post, if we go with it? I have in mind it being pretty wide open, a place where someone might post a book suggestion, a Bible verse, a keto recipe, and a personal celebration of a goal accomplished. And above all, offer encouragement. I would also like it to be a post everyone could participate in, if they choose, either in sharing or just reading the comments. In other words, not just a hangout for Christians who are fasting, etc., but for a wider audience and more comprehensive topics.

Your thoughts?

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