Bishop José Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), explained in a simple way what prayer, fasting and almsgiving mean and why we Catholics should practice them during Lent.
The Catholic Church began Lent on March 2, a liturgical time of conversion in which we Catholics prepare for 40 days with prayer, fasting and almsgiving to celebrate Easter. During these weeks, the faithful are called to repent of our sins and change to be better and live closer to Christ.
On March 3, Bishop Gomez published a series of messages on his Twitter account explaining to Catholics in a simple and practical way what it means to pray, fast and give alms and how we can practice them during Lent.
The Prelate began by recalling that “the traditional spiritual practices of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This is how Jesus lived and this is how he asks us to live.”
Then, Bishop Gomez said that “prayer is not complicated” and explained that praying “is simply talking to God, listening to him, reading his words in the Gospel.”
“Prayer is a personal conversation with God: telling him what is on your heart and then taking time to be quiet and listen to his voice in your heart,” he said.
Regarding fasting, the Prelate recalled that “fasting does not mean starving”, but “it simply means learning to live with less, trying to be less selfish”.
Specifically, “it means making small sacrifices, small offerings to God, in a spirit of penance and sacrifice,” he said.
Finally, he explained that “giving alms means being more generous, opening our hearts more and more to the needs of others.”
Although many think that it is only about giving financial help, Archbishop Gomez recalled that rather “it is about finding small ways to serve the people around us.”
“This Lent, let us try to make these three practices – prayer, fasting and almsgiving – part of our daily lives. When we live like this, we are becoming more and more like Jesus!” he concluded.