Would you believe that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving originated before Christ? Think about it. There might be a need to stretch the last of the supplies, especially if a community was being held long in winter’s grip. To rescue a foolish grasshopper or two in the community with charity. To pray for an early Spring, and ponder what the agricultural needs of the coming year might be. From LTP’s Keeping Lent, Triduum, and Eastertime:
Foodstores in the earliest spring are at their lowest. Animals are calving or laying eggs. Lenten fasting has its origins in these rhythms of nature. For forty days we remind ourselves that the earth is like Noah’s ark, all creatures gravely dependent on each other. Lenten fasting is a participation in the new birth of this season. Only by fasting together can we preserve each other’s lives, as well as the lives of generations yet to be born.
How does this translate–or not–to the modern world, most of which is not deep in the northern hemisphere and most of what is is no longer reliant on the cycles of nature for food aplenty?