3 Reasons Why You Should Fast This Lenten Season

3 Reasons Why You Should Fast This Lenten Season

Lent, a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter in the Christian calendar, is observed by millions of Catholics around the world. One of the central practices during this period is fasting, a discipline that holds profound spiritual significance and manifold benefits. Here, we explore three core reasons why fasting during Lent is an important spiritual practice in Catholicism, underpinned by the wisdom of various Catholic saints who have extolled its virtues.

Fostering Spiritual Discipline and Self-Control

Fasting is not merely an act of abstaining from food or certain luxuries; it's a form of spiritual discipline that strengthens one's will and fosters self-control. Saint Augustine of Hippo, a revered theologian and philosopher, once said, "Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, and kindles the true light of chastity." This encapsulates the essence of fasting as a means to purify oneself and exercise dominion over physical desires, thereby elevating the spirit.

Enhancing Prayer and Deepening the Relationship with God

Fasting is intricately linked with prayer in the Catholic tradition. It is believed that fasting amplifies one's prayers, making them more fervent and heartfelt. Saint Peter Chrysologus, a Doctor of the Church, eloquently stated, "Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others." By fasting, Catholics empty themselves of worldly distractions, thus creating more room for God's grace and deepening their relationship with Him. It's a time to reflect, repent, and pray more intensively, seeking a closer communion with the divine.

Solidarity with the Poor and Suffering

Fasting also serves as a tangible expression of solidarity with those who are less fortunate. It is a reminder of the sufferings of others and a call to live out the Christian duty of compassion and charity. Saint Basil the Great urged, "When you fast, see the fasting of others. If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry too." Through fasting, Catholics not only empathize with the poor and suffering but are also motivated to take concrete actions of charity and service towards them.


Fasting during Lent is a multifaceted spiritual practice that encompasses self-discipline, enhanced prayer, and compassion. It is a time for Catholics to introspect, grow in their faith, and extend their hands in service to others. By following the footsteps and heeding the words of the saints, the faithful are reminded of the profound impact fasting can have on their spiritual journey. As Saint Francis of Assisi beautifully summed it up, "It is in giving that we receive." In fasting, Catholics give up certain comforts but in return, they receive spiritual riches and graces that far outweigh the temporary pleasures of this world. Thus, fasting remains a cornerstone of Lenten observance, a sacred tradition that continues to guide the faithful towards a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God and their fellow human beings.