The Church has always helped us fulfill these words of Jesus by prescribing very definite penance for all Catholics so that we too might have Eternal life.
ABSTINENCE– Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. On days of abstinence, meat may not be taken. The law of abstinence binds all Catholics fourteen years of age or older. If members of the Faithful are unable to observe this regulation because of ill health or other reasons, they are urged to practice others forms of penance and self-denial suitable to their condition.
Accordingly, the Pope and the American Bishops have outlined obligatory fast and abstinence as follows:
Ash Wednesday & Good Friday
Ash Wednesday (Wednesday, February 26) and Good Friday (April 10,) are days of abstinence for all Catholics over the age of 14.
On these two days, fast, as well as abstinence, is also obligatory for those from the ages of 18-59.
No Catholic will lightly excuse himself or herself from this obligation.
All Fridays in Lent
All Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence from meat. Here again, Catholics will not hold themselves lightly excused, but if there is a serious health problem, this obligation would not apply.