Cardinal George's message for Lent 2006
by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Lent has begun. Last Wednesday we took the blessed ashes upon our foreheads and accepted the invitation of the Church to go into the desert with the Lord.
The desert is the place where Jesus prays and fasts to prepare for his public ministry. It was not the fasting sometimes fashionable today—dieting to have better health or a more attractive figure or to train for a sporting event.
Like Moses in the desert, the pious Jew of Jesus’ day would fast from earthly nourishment in order to become hungry for divine food, to become hungry for God. In the desert for 40 days, Jesus fasted to become empty in order to receive and carry out the will of his Father.
We, the followers of Jesus, need to fast to become free for God. The Church no longer has precise rules for substantial Lenten fasting, except for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and the result might be that we too easily drift through Lent and find at Easter that we have not made any serious effort. This is greatly to our spiritual loss and that of the Church.