He begins his letter by saying, "Lent is a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the church: prayer, fasting and works of mercy. At the basis of everything is the Word of God which we are invited to read and hear and ponder more deeply during this holy season." Most of his letter is directed toward reminding us that reading Sacred Scripture helps us to grow in our friendship with Jesus. "Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin he patiently waits for our return. Like a true friend he is always ready to forgive."
Fasting means that a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. Abstinence means abstaining from meat.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.
For members of the Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
(The following are exempt from all of the above: women who are pregnant, women who are nursing and all persons in poor health.)
Fr. Jerry Schik, o.s.c.