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Lent has traditionally been the season where we give something up, often sweets or a favorite food, in order to focus on the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. But fasting is much more than a means of developing self-control. Fasting is spiritual and physical purification; the pangs of hunger remind us of our hunger for God. Fasting and abstinence help us to participate more fully in the cross of Christ.

Limiting social-media exposure or fasting from the 24-hour news networks are ways to quiet our minds and open our hearts to transformation. Fasting from food is a reminder that there are people in our country and around the world who struggle with daily hunger and starvation. We might also strive to fast from anger, road rage, workaholism, judgment or jealousy.