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How Do I Explain Lent to Non-Catholics?

Mar 02, 2017 By Gretchen Filz

Have you ever struggled to explain why you participate in Lent? If you have friends or family members who are not Catholic, they may notice something a bit different about you - namely, your curious new habits, behaviors, or avoidances during this season leading up to Easter.

Whether it's people at the office who give you a puzzled look as you restrain from snacking between meals, or friends who question why you're going with the meatless meal on Fridays against the crowd, here is a simple answer you can give for your self-imposed discipline. Share your faith!


Jesus prepared for his Passion by entering a special period of fasting and prayer for 40 days alone in the wilderness.  There he did spiritual battle by enduring temptation and bodily hunger. The Church (his Bride) prepares for the annual remembrance of his Passion, death, and resurrection by fasting for 40 days prior just like he did.

Everything Jesus did during his earthly life teaches us what we should do and how we should act as Christians.  In this time of prayer and self-denial Jesus was teaching us about spiritual discipline, which will help us turn away from sin, purify our souls, and bring us closer to God. This is what will give us the inner strength us to carry our own crosses as we follow him. And it is only through the cross that we can participate in the resurrection and the joy of Easter.

What else would you add to this explanation?

Continue reading Lenten Season 101: A Guide for Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever struggled to explain to non-Catholics why you participate in Lent?

This article has been updated and was originally published in February 2016.

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Gretchen Filz Gretchen Filz

Gretchen is a Lay Dominican with a passion for fostering an increase in Catholic faith and devotion through content writing and journalism. She works as a digital content writer, creator, and marketer for The Catholic Company. In addition to blogging at, she is also editor of the daily devotional email and author at She holds an M.A. in Christian Apologetics and converted to the Catholic Church in 2011. She is also active in R.C.I.A., pro-life work, and various faith-based web projects.

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