Pope urges fasting during Lent

February 3, 2009 12:00 am

, VATICAN CITY, Feb 3 – Pope Benedict XVI Tuesday urged Christians to rediscover fasting as a spiritual weapon against the materialism of modern life and to take up prayer and almsgiving during Lent.

"In our times, fasting appears to have lost some of its spiritual value and, in a culture marked by the search for material well-being, it has rather become valued as a therapeutic practice to care for the body," the pontiff said in his Lenten message, marking the 40 days before Easter.

"Fasting is without doubt useful for physical well being, but for believers it is first and foremost a therapy to care for all that prevents us from complying to God’s will," Pope Benedict said.

"At the same time, fasting helps make us aware of the situation that so many of our brothers live in," he said, urging parishes to intensify individual and community fasting and to encourage prayer and almsgiving.

Christians consider Lent a time of penitence and spiritual development culminating with Holy Week before Easter, which will be celebrated on April 12 this year.


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