• Maribeth Harper

The Fast Way to Help Our Kids this Lent


We are in the middle of the longest stretch of the academic year --January through April-- weeks during which most of our college-aged young adults have no break from their studies. In some climates its cold and dreary at school and spring feels ages away. How do Praying College Moms help struggling students persevere?

Fortunately, today begins the six-week liturgical season of Lent, which gives us the perfect opportunity to fast for our children. Fasting reaps spiritual, emotional and temporal results for our loved ones, so let's take a few minutes to explore the advantages of fasting, and review some "how to's" so we can fast enthusiastically, full of hope for real transformation!

Fasting starts with a thorough self-analysis. We ask ourselves, "Where do I need to work?" A good resource for looking at our weaknesses is the material of our recent confessions.

Once we pinpoint the weakness we want to tackle, we choose a fast (a sacrifice) that's very specific and personally difficult. For example, if one of my weaknesses is "doing things half-way", I might resolve to match every last sock before putting them away, or make a balanced dinner for my family, or finish one spiritual book before I start another. Why am I doing this? Because I need the virtue of fortitude to combat my lethargy.

The sacrifice we make should it be difficult so that we learn to lean on Christ and surrender ourselves to Him, repeatedly. When we fail and offer it humbly, Our Lord accepts that too! (Honestly, I get a pit in my stomach when I think of fasting because it reminds me of the time I broke my sweets fast by eating five pieces of cake intended for my family in the two mile drive to my home during Holy Week.)

As we struggle to make our sacrifices throughout Lent and learn to rely more and more on Christ to be our strength, He will take our tiny offerings and turn them into grace for our children. Isn't that awesome? The fruits

of our sacrifices are more powerful than any advice we could give, any material contributions we could make, or anything else we could do for our kids!

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