Make Lent A Time For Doing
The Catholic Church is celebrating the season of Lent
This is a very important time not only for catholics but for Christians in general. Lent is becoming known as a time for not giving up on worldly pleasures (like desserts), but for doing more for others. Lent is a time for reflection on one’s own inner self on how to become a better person. A better person for themselves and for others. For instance we can ask ourselves, how can I become a better mother, wife, daughter, friend, teacher and catholic? How can I strengthen my faith during these 40 days and walk with Jesus more closely?
One way we can deepen our relationship with God is by reflecting on His word with daily inspiration. Dynamic Catholic is a great website to refer to during Lent. Daily Lenten emails and videos aimed to help us take a few moments out of our day, and reflect on this important time of the year are offered. Here are a few words from Dynamic Catholic on Lent.
What You Need to Know About Lent
What is Lent?
Lent is a 40-day period leading up to Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday. (This year, Ash Wednesday is February 10.) Lent is a known as a penitential season. That means it is an opportunity to examine your life, give your struggles to God, and invite him to help you become the-best-version-of-yourself®.
In particular, there is an increased focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, all these spiritual exercises help prepare us for the celebration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Lent in 2016 begins on Ash Wednesday (February 10, 2016). The day before Ash Wednesday is popularly known as Mardi Gras (literally Fat Tuesday). Since Lent is a season of fasting, Fat Tuesday traditionally is a final day of feasting and merrymaking before the 40-day fast.
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, which is March 20, 2016. Holy Thursday, which begins the three-period the Church calls the Easter Triduum, is March 24, 2016. Good Friday is March 25, 2016.
Lent is the perfect time to form new life-giving habits and abandon old self-destructive habits. But most of us just give up chocolate. Then, when Easter arrives, we realize we really haven’t grown spiritually since the beginning of Lent.
Lent is not just about giving things up, like chocolate. Lent is about doing something—something bold to become a better husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, friend, neighbor, etc.
What if this year you did more than just give up something during Lent? Do something life-changing.
So what do we mean about prayer, fasting and almsgiving during Lent?
Well as Catholics and Christians we already pray. However, during Lent, prayer seems to take on a stronger meaning. Our prayers during this time are meant to strengthen us as individuals, so we can then strengthen others. Praying the Rosary more often during Lent strengthens us. Going to Stations of the Cross weekly strengthens us. Attending an extra Mass during the week, strengthens us. Going to Reconciliation strengthens us. Or just spending extra time with God listening for Him and allowing Him to speak to our hearts. This also truly strengthens us.
Fasting is going without. This usually means that Catholics don’t eat meat on Friday’s or on Holy days like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting allows us to grow closer to God. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, we only eat two small meals and one full meal with no eating in between. By going without, we realize how much we need God and we are made aware that all that we have comes from Him.
Almsgiving is giving to others in need by monetary donations, however that’s not all it means! Almsgiving means to give in time, talent and treasure. To make that phone call to grandma. To visit the elderly in assisted living facilities. To help out at our local food shelter. To lend a hand to our neighbor. To offer a smile and say, “hello” to a stranger. To donate those unused toiletries taking up space in our cabinet. And, to giving a little extra out of our wallet to help feed the hungry.
This year, let’s make Lent a time for DOING, and not a time for just giving up desserts!