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Suggestions For Your Lenten Fast

Many churches have disciplines regarding Lent fasting. Orthodox Christians have a strict fast. Western Catholics are expected to abstain from meat on all of the Fridays during Lent, called days of Abstinence. Meat is defined as the flesh of warm-blooded animals. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, official Western fast days, only one full meatless meal is allowed. One may eat other small meatless meals, so long as they do not, when combined, add up to an additional full meal. Liquids, such as coffee and teas, are permitted anytime on fast days, but snacking is not. These restrictions do not prevent you from adding your own Lenten disciplines.

Below are some ideas for restrictions/sacrifices, and beneficial additions to your Lenten disciplines. Remember that Lent is about spiritual transformation and conversion, and is basically a spiritual training period. Through our Lenten disciplines and prayer, we become more like Jesus and grow closer to God. One way we focus on Christ, and not on material goods, is to make sacrifices during Lent. For instance, watching television is not sinful in itself, but since most people enjoy it, giving it up for 40 days is a sacrifice.

Restrictions and Sacrifices (i.e. "giving up" or limiting)
Blogging
Coffee
Caffeine
Computer Use
Drinking Alcohol
Driving
Eating Out
Energy Use (gasoline, electricity, etc)
Gossiping
Internet Chatting
Meat / Red Meat
Sexual Activity
Smoking
Swearing
Sweets
Television
Using Credit Cards

Additions
Adding More Prayer Time
Giving Away More Money and Time
Reading More Scripture
Reading the Church Fathers
Studying More
Going to Confession weekly

Restrictions and positive additions often overlap. For instance, some people give up swearing for Lent, but when they accidentally do swear, they put money in a jar (50 cents to a dollar usually). Not only does this discourage future swearing, the money in the jar can be given to charity at the end of Lent.

Embracing a Spiritual Theme
One way to make positive changes during Lent is to focus on a particular theme during Lent, and cultivate virtues related to it during Lent. Below are some ideas and suggestions:
Gratitude - Express your gratitude more, do more favors for people, be more generous, and keep a gratitude journal.
Generosity - Give more of your time, talent, and treasure to others. Tip a little more, give a little more, etc.
Simplicity - Simplify your life by getting rid of material goods that are not giving you joy. You can make a goal to donate, sell, or get rid of an item each day of Lent.

These are just a few suggestions on how to fast during Lent. Think of some your own! One person's fast is not always appropriate for another.

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See also Lent
Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan
Lent Prayers
Lenten Canticles
A Lent Reading List
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