Meatless links, it goes without saying.
• On Catholic World Report, Mark Shea writes about "living lent in the fast lane":
Lent is the reminder that all this sort of thinking is, well, ashes. Bupkis. Skubala. “Refuse”—as English translators of Scripture politely put it. It’s the reminder that this passing world is passing indeed and that none of that stuff is going to matter in the final analysis. Lent is for focusing the mind, heart, and spirit on God: for getting away from it all, not on an all-expense-paid Lenten Caribbean Cruise, but to the desert.
That’s the first thing to notice about Lent: the desert. One of the striking insights that Christianity carries over from Judaism is that spiritual purification happens in the desert, not in a leafy glade. It’s not something we like, but it is something we intuit is true nonetheless. Israel escapes Egypt and begins a journey that, for the ancient trade caravans, took eleven days. But for the People of God, it takes forty years. Why? Because that’s what it took. Getting Israel out of Egypt was easy. Getting Egypt out of Israel? That took some doing. A whole generation would have to die off and a new one, purified by the astringency of the desert, would have to arise before Israel was ready to enter the Promised Land.
• Also on CWR, Dr. Adam DeVille considers the different approaches taken to fasting in the Western and Eastern churches:
On paper, Eastern fasting discipline—about which I have published several articles over the last dozen years—seems very strict indeed (though in practice not everyone follows it); and on paper Western fasting discipline seems rather minimal—though in practice nothing prevents Western Christians from undertaking a more rigorous fast. But both disciplines currently have some rather strange logic behind them, which I wish to challenge here by means of a “scholastic” method. I shall consider the question in two articles.
• Homiletic & Pastoral Review has posted two Lenten pieces: an essay, "Lent: A Time for Conversion", by Fr. Richard Gribble, CSC, and a reflection by HPR's editor, Fr. David Vincent Meconi, SJ, titled, "Our Lenten Imitation of Christ".
• In an excerpt from his book, Evangelical Is Not Enough, Dr. Thomas Howard writes:
Lent, like Advent, is a time of penitence. Here we identify ourselves with the Lord's fast and ordeal in the wilderness, which He bore for us.
This raises a point worth noting in passing. There are some varieties of Protestant theology and spirituality that so stress "the finished work of Christ" and the fact that He accomplished everything, that they leave no room at all for any participation on our part. Such participation, encouraged by the ancient Church, does not mean that we mortals claim any of the merit that attaches to Christ's work, much less that we can by one thousandth particle add to His work. Nevertheless, the gospel teaches us that Christians are more than mere followers of Christ. We are His Body and are drawn, somehow, into His own sufferings. We are even "crucified" with Him.
Read the entire piece on Insight Scoop.
• In the essay, "Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself", written many years ago but worth revisiting, Benedictine Brother Austin G. Murphy writes: