Posted March 5th, 2014 | CRS Rice Bowl, Dinner Discussion, Lent, Prayers, Video


  As we like to generate conversation, here is some FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 

  • What’s the best way that you approach Lent?
  • Are you “giving up” a certain food during this season, and if so, how do you replace it? (For example, giving up salt and fatty snacks, and replacing it with fruits).
  • Is there a special prayer that you say during Lent?

Post your comments HERE to help us and our subscribers stay on track during this Lenten Season.


Christians entering into the Holy Season of Lent, begin with the unique practice of placing ashes on the forehead as a sign of humble repentance.  Besides the ashes, the practice of fasting and abstaining from certain foods throughout the season (particularly on Fridays) is accompanied by charitable almsgiving to the poor and increased prayer.  

Even babies can receive the ashes on the forehead.

We can approach these Lenten disciplines with the best intentions. But unless we have practical steps to take, we can easily let these good intentions remain at the level of theory and not practice.  So, here are a few practical ideas to help you put these intentions into practice this Lenten season, spelled out easily in the word LENT!  


Learning Experiencing Nourishing Timing


L (Learning):  This season consider doing some active learning about the faith by picking up spiritual reading.  My newest book has become a resource for Lenten Reading.  There are seven chapters, which you can read for each week of Lent! 


If we’re not actively learning about our Faith, we are actively making ourselves ignorant.  God gave us brains and a conscious to be fed and informed. I often find that people engaged in the faith grow hungry for more.  Those who avoid any type of active intellectual formation of the faith become quickly bored with it, take it for granted, and eventually stop practicing it all together. Arrogance usually follows. 


People who don’t actually learn substantial truths about the faith actually start believing their own opinions about it, as if these uninformed opinions are actually true.  They begin to question, without seeking knowledge, and start opining as if they are experts. Yes, without an active effort to grow in the faith we risk ignorance. Learning is all about feeding our mind and forming our conscious in order to develop the strength to make good decisions in life.    

First year College Seminarian Andy said that he will read my newest book Epic Food Fight as his Lenten Reading.

E (Experiencing):  One of the best forms of learning is experience.  This Lent, create opportunities to experience the Faith.  Parishes ought to provide these experiences by hosting Soup and Suppers or Lenten Fish Fries – an opportunity for the community to come together on Fridays to dine together and to pray.  Many parishes invite speakers or mission preachers, or even take local pilgrimages to nearby shrines.  All of these provide an educational experience. 


Click Here to Book Fr. Leo for your next parish mission – not just during the Lenten Season.

Too often parents will tell me their children are bored with church, which usually comes from a lack of experiencing its fullness and beauty.  That’s why I encourage planning a pilgrimage!  Next year we are planning three pilgrimages to the Holy Land, a trip to Italy for the World Fair, and a trip to Spain to experience the Spiritual Mystics.  Stay tuned for more information next month!  Plan on joining us and bring a family member in need of a fun and faithful experience.


Ask yourself, when was the last time I experienced something unique about the faith? It could be as simple as serving a meal in a soup kitchen, going to a different church, or visiting a museum to take in the beauty of religious art with an informed guide.  If we are not experiencing new things, our faith grows stagnant.  Experiencing something new stirs up the flame of faith in each of us.  


Each Year thousands of teens from all over the country participate in a weekend retreat called the Steubenville Youth Conference. Plan now for your church group to participate in these life changing experiences.

N (Nourishing): Lent gives us a chance to ask ourselves what we are putting into our hearts, minds and, in particular, our bodies.  And believe it or not, fasting and abstaining are two of the healthiest things we can do to nourish our lives!  Isn’t that why health conscious individuals nourish their bodies with healthy foods and fast from certain other, less healthy options? 


Notice that Lent encourages us to be healthier by eating and drinking more purely, naturally and simply.  Unfortunately, we are easily addicted to unhealthy lifestyles and food choices.  We have a chance to simplify and improve it, one bite at a time!


Beginning a regimen that includes fasting is not easy.  We may get weak, get a mild headache, and even go through some other withdrawal symptoms.  But, if we can get past these challenges, we will certainly put ourselves on a track that will sustain us throughout the season and even throughout the year.  Lent wants each practitioner to truly be healthy – body, mind and soul. This requires proper nourishment.  And in some cases, not to nourish (i.e., feed) unhealthy tendencies. 


Jewish, Christian and Muslim Chefs, all part of Chefs for Peace, give my pilgrimage group a presentation on healthy and religious eating proving how important it is- no matter what religion you are.

T (Timing):  All good cooks know that timing is a key ingredient to a successful meal.  Lent helps us to be better at this important skill.  To make Lent a success in fidelity, we need to make proper adjustments to our schedule, i.e, timing! 


We treat life with a “fast food” mentality thinking that prayer can be as quick. That unhealthy expectation of timing has led to all sorts of unhealthy symptoms. People who don’t regularly pray can more easily give into worry, bad temper, and a lack of discipline to be patient.  When we take time and plan our days, which includes prayer, we find ourselves less anxious, more productive, less lazy, and even more rested


Consider the things you need to be healthy, make time for these things, and make sure to stick to your schedule.  Timing in life, as in the cooking process, results in a quality product.  In this case, proper timing leads to a better quality of life. 


At the Nalty Tree Farm, our priest reunion group takes time for prayer – which helps keep our class united in God’s invitation to brotherly love.


Let us pray: 


Jesus, You give us this joyful season of Lent each year to recall how You suffered for us,  for the forgiveness of our sins, and to ultimately get us back on track to the path of Heaven.  Help us to take this time seriously, by our sincere efforts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  May our Lenten practices lead us to the eternal joys of the heavenly banquet!  Amen.


Scourged for our Sins, Statue Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church.


This Week’s Lenten Recipe from CRS Rice Bowl:
Visit for more on Fr. Leo and 
CRS Rice Bowl Global Kitchen: For Lent, For Life
on winning the EPIC CONTEST to get a free copy of
 EPIC FOOD FIGHT. Thanks to all who participated!
3/8/14 – 3/22/14
Calcutta, India


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Posted in CRS Rice Bowl, Dinner Discussion, Lent, Prayers, Video | 3 Comments