Preparing for Lent : How to fast like the Saints (Introduction)

Author: Ryan J. Moreau

With Ash Wednesday only eight days away, the Lenten season is nearly upon us. Because one of our greatest goals at Essentialist Press is to help you find deeper union with God, we believe that there is no better time than the present to start learning about the Church’s history regarding the practice of “fasting” and how this tangible “sacrifice” has always been a vehicle to bring you closer to the Most Holy Trinity.

To ensure that you are receiving a proper education on this topic, I’ve asked permission from my friend Matthew Plese – a Third Order Dominican from Chicago and an expert on Catholicism with an emphasis on Traditional Fasting – to share his research and writings on the subject.

Matthew offered up insights at his own blog “A Catholic Life” since 2005 and had previously featured this series in a single post back in 2022. Additionally, he is also a Certified Catechist (learn more at, Author of multiple books on Church history and practices and writes for many other online publications.

As we ready ourselves to embark on this 40 day journey we call Lent, I hope that this series affords each of you an opportunity to truly meditate and contemplate on the history and beneficial nature of fasting. Therefore, we will be breaking Matthew’s original article up into seven, easy to read (and digest) parts. My hope is that in taking small bites of this content each day, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of why God calls us to this sacrifice and obtain the courage to integrate “traditional fasting” exercises into your own Lenten penances.

With that in mind, we are excited to launch this new online journal, With a Rudder, not only for this season of Lent, but also as a way to help encourage and architect a new kind of restoration project for the Mystical Body. By offering you tools to rebuild your “Inner Life” we believe that by God’s grace and power we can support those of you hoping to reconstruct deeper lives in Christ even while the visible Church appears to be under a period of demolition from within.