Tis the Season of Lent

Lent-2014[1]During the months of March and April, many Christian denominations have entered this time called Lent. The word Lent means “springtide” and also “March,” the month which the majority of Lent falls in. Lent is where we remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Starting on Ash Wednesday, this time of remembrance last about six weeks, ending on Easter Sunday. Christians who practice Lent go through the process of prayer, penance, and repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial. In order to do this, believers commit to fasting or giving up certain luxuries as a form of penitence. Now this article is not about what luxuries people are giving up, but on what Lent means to them.

Lindsey, a Catholic, gave me her view on what Lent means to her. “Lent is a time of sacrifice that represents the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, so we give up something important to us to draw closer to him. It’s important to my faith because it makes it stronger and we can do something for 40 days to honor what Jesus did for our life.”

Sophomore David, a Free Methodist, gave his opinion on Lent. “Lent means giving up something that causes distractions in your life. We live with these distractions every day of our lives when we should be focusing on God. So this period where we give up something that takes up a huge portion of our life, we can then focus on what is really important in our life, God.”

Lent has been around for a long time, but back in the early years no one really had the actual practices and duration of Lent set in stone. Church authorities worked together and concluded around the 4th century that there was going to be a 40-day period of Easter preparation known as Lent and its main spiritual exercises would include prayer and fasting. This 40-day practice is meant to be fasting for six days a week over the course of six weeks. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican Council II stated, “The two elements which are especially characteristic of Lent – the recalling of baptism or the preparation for it, and penance – should be given greater emphasis in the liturgy and in liturgical catechesis. It is by means of the celebration of Easter, while they hear God’s word more frequently and devote more time to prayer.”

By Jennifer Kilbourn


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