MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Father Stephen Vrazel with St. Vincent de Paul joins us. Here’s a look at our conversation:
Anchor: Lent is coming up following Fat Tuesday, what is the Biblical story Lent Commemorates?
Guest: Before beginning his public ministry, Jesus faster and prayed in the desert forty days. We willingly embrace self-denial for the forty days of Lent following his example. We also do so in preparation for the celebration of another (more important) biblical event: the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter.
Anchor: How does the Catholic Church encourage members to observe the 40 days of Lent?
Guest: In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus gives instructions about how we are to pray, fast, and give alms, so we try to make sure those three disciplines are covered. During Lent, we have special days of fasting, primarily Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, but we also abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. Most parishes have programs of service and increased opportunities for prayer like stations of the cross and Lenten missions. The Catholic Church also encourages people to choose a private discipline in each of those areas.
Anchor: What do we learn from Christ’s temptation?
Guest: Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man experienced the full range of human life, with the exception of sin. His temptation gives us a glimpse into how we can overcome temptation: relying on scripture as well as fasting and self-discipline so that we are more prepared to say yes to the Spirit and no to the flesh.
Anchor: What are people supposed to get from Lenten sacrifice?
Guest: Christ teaches us that we must take up our cross and follow him. Sometimes the cross is something we did not choose, but during Lent we are called to deny ourselves in imitation of him. Furthermore, the less we seek to fill ourselves up with the things of this world, the more room there is in our hearts for the Spirit to take up residence. In the end, no created thing can ever fulfill us. Only God himself will satisfy.
Anchor: What’s the most important part of Lent to you?
Guest: the discipline of Lent gives us a clearer head, spiritually speaking. Forsaking the world makes repentance much easier and much more desirable. 40 days of detox from the garbage that we willingly gobble up (whether it’s food or something else entirely) has immense spiritual benefits.
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