Lent is the yearly celebration by the Church of its corporate conversion in Jesus Christ. Lent has two major purposes: It recalls or prepares for baptism, and emphasizes a spirit of penance. Through forty days of closer attention to God’s word and of more prayer, believers are prepared to celebrate the Paschal Mystery. The Church encourages penitential practices that are external and social, reflecting the circumstances of individuals and communities, as we pray and do penance for sinners.
We have all heard of TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More. For Lent we are using that same term, but have changed it to . . . “Together we fast. Every day we pray. Always we give. Make a difference.” That is what Lent is all about – we fast, we pray, we give, we make a difference. In Lent, we are called to practice the three traditional acts:
- PRAYER – for the Good of the Soul
- FASTING – for the Good of the Body
- ALMSGIVING / CHARITY – for the Good of Others
The Catholic practice of giving something up for Lent – abstaining from a favorite food or activity – develops self-control, serves as penance for sin, and can lead to a greater appreciation of our blessings. Even young children can benefit from a Lenten sacrifice but choosing one that’s too hard can turn Lent into a chore. Try these ideas to help choose a rewarding sacrifice: Give up something valuable. This can be a favorite dessert, game, toy or activity. Make it reasonable. The sacrifice should be something specific and age appropriate so that they will be able to see it through. An alternative to giving something up is to add instead: more prayer, an extra chore, a daily devotion such as the Rosary. Give up luxuries. Consider encouraging your children to pick something that may not be good for them anyway. For example, sweets, soft drinks, or television watching during the week, make healthy choices for Lenten abstinence. They may even decide to do without it when Lent is over.
Pope Francis told us, Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in His word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Catholic Charities, which is a Lenten campaign which asks each of us to help others. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter
Lent is a beautiful time of the year in which we reflect on our Lord Jesus Christ’s passion and suffering. Our students at Saint Amelia School have been reflecting deeply on our Lord’s passion by reciting the scriptural Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. As we come to the end of our Lenten journey our students will act out our Last Supper and Foot Washing. This will take place on Wednesday the 28th of March at 9:00 A.M. in the church. All are welcome to attend.
Sincerely yours in Christ,