It might seem odd to call Lent a spiritual fight. After all, fasting is physical and not spiritual, right? Well, not only is fasting spiritual, but abstaining from meat is also spiritual. Indeed, they are both. Our body and soul are not separate pieces that do not affect each other. What we do with one affects the other. Sinning with the body stains the soul and physical sacrifices strengthens the soul.
When we fast, we are exercising our soul’s control over the body and its demands. Though we are a combination of body and soul, not always does our body and soul agree over what to do. One for me is waking up in the morning right away. My body wants me to stay in bed and my soul wants me to get up. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – [Matthew 26:41]
When we abstain from meat, we are submitting our obedience to Jesus’ Bride, the Church. In this abstinence, we are showing a solidarity with everyone in the Church. We are handing over our will in the smallest of ways to Jesus, through His Bride. It may seem too easy and too simple, but why does everything have to be complicated? Does Jesus want our relationship with Him to be complicated?
We are not just fighting our desires and obedience, but we truly do have a spiritual fight with spiritual beings. Satan and his demons do not want us to go to Heaven. If we want to journey to Heaven, we have to fight those trying to thwart us. And how do they try to thwart our spiritual journey? With physical temptations.
We prepare ourselves for spiritual warfare in a number of ways. (1) We must strengthen our soul’s control of our body. (2) We must strengthen our soul’s relationship to the all-powerful God, loving God. (3) We must strengthen our love for others by giving. If we can increase our will and love God and others better, we will be so much more prepared for the spiritual fight.
These tie in directly with the three pillars of Lent. (1) Fasting, (2) Prayer, and (3) Almsgiving. Sure, any one of them is good and can help us during our spiritual fight. But all three … the help is multiplied. If a building sits on three pillars and you raise two of them, the building is still subject to flood waters at the level of the lowest pillar. We should raise all of our pillars to effectively raise ourselves above the flood of Satan’s attacks.
Jesus, You picked a spiritual fight by going into the desert for 40 days. Stay with us and keep us strong in our 40 days of spiritual battle.