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Prepare Yourselves to Live a Eucharistic Lent

Lent is about going spiritually to the state of the desert, about uniting ourselves to, and imitating, Jesus’ fasting, praying and charity. It’s a time to repent and believe.

We’re summoned to render our hearts open to God, to reflect on the meaning and trajectory of our life, as we recall that we are dust and to dust we shall return. It’s a period of mercy and conversion, of grace and holiness that we’re supposed to receive fruitfully and not in vain.

This Lent is special, taking place within the parish phase of the three-year-plus Eucharistic Revival. Since Jesus in the Eucharist is the source and summit, the root and center of the Christian life, Lent, too, should draw its life from the Eucharistic Jesus and lead us to him. It’s important, therefore, to look at our major Lenten practices through a Eucharistic lens.

The first is fasting. In the Gospel on Ash Wednesday, Jesus says to us, “When you fast …” In contrast to many of Jesus’ contemporaries, who fasted for show, supplication, penance and self-mastery, Jesus wants our fasting to be to bring into communion those parts of our life that are not yet united to him, those areas in which Jesus the Bridegroom has been “taken away” and is not yet present. Through Isaiah, God tells us that fasting is ultimately to learn to hunger for God and for what he hungers.

The reason why the Church has a discipline of fasting before receiving Holy Communion is to help us calibrate our appetites to God’s. Jesus told us, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:27).

Jesus has a huge hunger to feed us. His incarnation, hidden life, public ministry, passion, death and resurrection all culminated in his giving us his Body and Blood, the means by which he would fulfill his promise to be with us always until the end of time. Jesus’ most eager desire, as he told us on Holy Thursday, was to celebrate “this Passover,” the new and eternal covenant, with us. He wants us to hunger for him, to work for the food he himself will give us more than a greedy Wall Street trader works to make money. That’s the ultimate purpose of our specifically Eucharistic fast as well as all fasting.

But our hunger to eat his flesh and drink his blood is meant to lead us to draw our whole life from him. A Eucharistic life extends beyond Mass.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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