Lent, in a special way, points out that we are pilgrims for seven weeks we walk with Christ, in response to His invitation, Let us go up to Jerusalem.” The penances, the fasting, and all the other aspects of Lent are the hardships of the journey. Acts of voluntary self-denial during Lent may include, in addition to fasting: participation in daily Mass, spiritual studies, lenten devotions, Stations of the Cross, reciting the Rosary, deeds of mercy and kindness.
Abstinence forbids the eating of meat. Abstinence obliges from the 14th birthday on. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
Fasting prescribes that only one full meal a day be taken. Two smaller meals may be taken to maintain strength but these taken together should not equal another full meal. Fasting obliges from the 18th to the 59th birthday.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence from meat.
There is a serious obligation to observe these penitential practices in a substantial way. Those whose work or health would be impaired are excused from fast and abstinence. Individual conscience should decide proper cause for excuse.