Pope asks Catholics to fast during Lent
Pope Benedict XVI is calling for Catholics to fast during Lent as a way of opening their hearts to God and seeing how the poor live. Lent is observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and many Protestant denominations as a period of penitence and fasting.
"Lent recalls the forty days of our Lord's fasting in the desert, which He undertook before entering into His public ministry," the Pope said in his Lent 2009 message. "We might wonder what value and meaning there is for us Christians in depriving ourselves of something that in itself is good and useful for our bodily sustenance. The Sacred Scriptures and the entire Christian tradition teach that fasting is a great help to avoid sin and all that leads to it. For this reason, the history of salvation is replete with occasions that invite fasting."