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In Lent, more than any other season, we turn our attention to spiritual health. Typically, there are three components to this process of reconversion.

First, as a matter of humility and obedience, it is essential to observe at least the minimum requirements of the Church. In most places these are: (1) Persons aged 18 through 59 must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means no more than one full meal, with up to two other small meals which together do not equal another full meal, and nothing between meals except water; (2) Persons aged 14 and over must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays in Lent.

Second, one ought to seek to follow the mind of the Church in developing one's spiritual life. The Church always recommends prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving during Lent. But the Pope's annual brief Lenten address provides a particular focus each year.

Third, especially for famlies, it is important to find ways to integrate the Lenten season into the life of the domestic church. For this purpose, CatholicCulture.org's liturgical year materials are unequaled.

If you only have time to look at three things, LOOK AT THESE.

  1. Benedict XVI's 2007 Lenten Message
  2. Pope Leo the Great's First Homily on Lent (5th century)
  3. Living Lent in the Family

And if you've got more time...

We've highlighted just one of Pope Saint Leo the Great's classic Lenten homilies from the fifth century. For additional spiritual reading, search in CatholicCulture.org's Fathers of the Church section for "Lent Leo the Great" to find the rest of them.

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