Pray, fast, give this Lent, Bishop Kemme writes

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
On Wednesday of this past week, Ash Wednesday, we began one of the Church’s most important liturgical seasons: Lent. The 40 days of Lenten penance, which includes prayer, fasting and charity, are designed to help us prepare spiritually for the Lord’s Paschal mystery celebrated during the Sacred Triduum, culminating of course with Easter Sunday. This is a most important time for us as Christians and one, which we are called to observe with diligence and attention.
All three of the Church’s traditional Lenten activities are essential for the full participation in the Christian life and should be observed throughout the entire year. During Lent, however, we place a special spotlight on them and are encouraged to live them even more intensely. I would like to offer a few simple reflections on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and charity, which I am hopeful will help to encourage you to practice them even more this Lent.
Prayer is the life blood of the Christian soul. Any time we give to prayer is time well spent. I want to encourage all of you to give more time and space in your daily life to prayer, especially the Prayer of the Mass, adoration, devotions and mental or contemplative prayer. Here again, I highly encourage the faithful to attend daily Mass, at least one time during the week, in addition to Sunday Mass. Give consideration to making at least a weekly holy hour in one of our adoration chapels or simply in one of our churches if an adoration chapel is not readily available.
Pray the rosary to or from work or school. Read a chapter of the bible every day, especially one of the Gospels or one of the Letters of the New Testament. Make a good confession several times during Lent. This attitude of prayer will keep you well connected to God on a daily basis. Ask the Lord to help you to pray and he surely will.
Fasting helps to build discipline in our lives, a discipline that will keep us focused on what truly matters. Many in our culture find fasting terribly difficult. To consciously choose to deny ourselves good things, like food or drink, or sleep, or anything else we have grown very accustomed to, is a great challenge for many. Fasting, if coupled with prayer, gives us a power over ourselves, a mastery over our human nature, which is essential for growth in the spiritual life.
I might suggest here that we consider fasting in terms of other things as well, like social media, technology, television, gossip, complaining, and criticism, which for many have too much power over their lives. Fasting puts all created things in proper perspective, helping us focus on the higher spiritual realities.
Finally, charity or almsgiving is the outward movement of the heart to share, to give and to support another. We should all consciously exercise some form and degree of charity every day, however small it might be. To make someone else’s life better and to lighten another’s load, is a sign of true Christian zeal and faith. There are numerous ways and opportunities we can practice charity, either at home, at school, at the parish or in our local community.
It is important that our charity be intentional, reflecting in some way the generosity we ourselves enjoy. This is the greatest sign of Christian faith and hope. For as St. Paul said so beautifully in his first letter to the Corinthians, “So faith, hope and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Friends, please know of my thoughts and prayers for you and for all in our diocese in a special way during Lent. We are all invited to spend these 40 days with the Lord as on retreat. May God bless our Lenten pilgrimage and may the many graces of a Lent well observed be ours in abundance in the Diocese of Wichita. God bless you all!
+ Bishop Carl Kemme