Archive for February, 2020

Lent is the forty days in preparation for Easter. Although many think of Lent as a solemn time, it is actually a time of joy. Why joy when it takes us to the Passion of Our Lord? During these forty days, we are preparing for, and looking toward the joy of the Resurrection. When we are looking forward to a celebration, we prepare. Perhaps we buy new clothes, plan a trip or make plans with friends to celebrate together. There is no celebration greater than the Resurrection. Saint John Paul II perfectly described this when he said, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
So, during Lent, we prepare for Easter.

How do we Prepare During Lent?

The ways in which we prepare for Easter are fasting, adding to our prayer life, giving alms and honestly examining our relationship with Jesus.  Fasting is what most people associate with these forty days.  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are compulsory days of fasting and abstinence. On Fridays during, Lent, we are required to abstain from meat. People usually plan their Lenten fast in advance. Many choose to “give up” chocolate or another favorite food while others may refrain from social media or television. Whatever the choice, it should be a sacrifice, not something we occasionally eat or do.

“Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, and kindles the true light of chastity. Enter again into yourself.”
~Saint Augustine~

Prayer and Self Reflection

We all need honest self-examination and extra prayer. Reading Sacred Scripture, praying an additional Rosary, going to Mass during the week, meditating on the Passion of Christ and praying the Stations of the Cross are all ways to prepare us for the quietude of self-reflection which will lead us to a closer relationship with Our Precious Lord. And, of course, the Sacrament of Reconciliation should be on our Lenten agenda.

“Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store.”
~N.T. Wright~

Alms Giving

We are usually given a box or envelope in which we regularly save coins during Lent and on Palm Sunday, we offer these alms to our church. But money is, in many ways, the easy way to give. It takes no time and unless you are in need, it is not always sacrificial. There are other ways we can give alms during Lent. We can volunteer to visit a sick or elderly person who is not often visited. Practicing any of the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy or Spiritual Works of Mercy would be a beautiful way to give alms. The Corporal Works of mercy are: Feed the hungry, Give drink to the thirsty, Welcome the stranger, Clothe the naked, Visit the sick, Visit the prisoner and Bury the dead. The Spiritual Works of mercy are: Teaching the ignorant, Counsel the needy, Chastise the sinful, Comfort the sorrowful, Forgive enemies, Suffer tribulations and to Pray fervently for all. Often, when a person begins practicing one of the Acts of Mercy during Lent, he will find it so rewarding that it will become a constant act in his life.

“Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God if we have given what we could.”

~Saint Gregory Nazianzen~

We Come through Lent Closer to God

So, you see, these forty days will teach us, cleanse us, help us to grow spiritually and ultimately, strengthen our love for and relationship to Our Lord.

Written by Marilyn Nash for Holyart.com

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