The requirements of a Catholic Lent are minimal compared to what they used to be. The Lent fasting in addition to the normal 'no meat on Fridays' includes fast and abstinence under pain of mortal sin on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Let's cut to the chase and see what is what. In a nutshell, here is what is required:
Abstinence from meat is required of those who have turned 14 years old until the end of their life.
Fasting (one full meal and two smaller ones that do not equal a full meal, and no eating in between) is required of those who are 18 years old up through their 59th year. Those 60 and over are exempt from fasting in proportion to their age and health requirements.
In the past, there was a more penitential fasting done during Lent and over the years (and Centuries) it has changed. Sometimes I think I will never make it through Ash Wednesday and Good Friday...Why is it you always crave what you can't/shouldn't have the most on these two days?!?!
The rules of fast and abstinence used to be observed through the whole of Lent except on Major Feast days and Sundays, meaning they fasted and at least partially abstained from meat everyday except Sunday and major feasts.
Some who wish to impose on themselves more penances to experience a deeper Lenten season, do still follow the more rigorous fasting laws. On most days, they allow themselves meat only once, no eating between meals and no treats like dessert. Sundays and Holy Days of course are exceptions as they have always been.
NB: It should be remembered that any fasting and/or sacrifices that prevent us from doing our duty of our state in life, is wrong and can be considered scrupulous. We should never do anything above what is required (obligatory) that would prevent this, since doing our duties to the best of our abilities, first and foremost are the most pleasing to God.
Gain a plenary indulgence for participating in the Stations of the Cross.
Catholic Lent Prayers
Outside of the Stations of the Cross, there are other lent prayers that help deepen our devotion. One especially to consider is the Devotion to Our Sorrowful Mother.
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