Lent begins with the celebration of Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, with the distribution of ashes on the forehead at all Catholic Masses, and some Protestant churches as well, to mark the 40-day period of fasting, prayer and almsgiving for preparation for Easter on April 8.
The word means “spring” – a time of renewal and rebirth. We see flowers bloom around Masters Week, which happens to be Holy Week. We are to be ready to experience almsgiving to charities; give up foods; and to fast, a practice of eating two small meals and one normal one. Fasting is a spiritual exercise to get us ready to be Christlike, as in his period of fasting in the desert.
As you get ready to begin Lent, I pray that each of you decides to jump into the spirit by donating to a worthwhile local charity; attending a local church to worship the living God, and fasting to imitate Christ’s fasting.
A deep reminder of our mortality is doing the Stations of the Cross, You can check local church bulletins to find out when they are to be celebrated on Fridays during Lent. Another spiritual act that would profit you immensely is reading the word of God, rich as it is, in giving you spiritual direction, guidance and wisdom to follow Jesus into eternal life in heaven.
Yes, we are all called to experience Lent as a time of springtime renewal and rebirth. Take the time these 40 days and enter the whole period of time seeking God’s ways and holiness. Doing so will mean so much to you personally and as a family, too! God bless your Lent!
The Rev. Michael Lubinsky
(The writer is parochial vicar of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity.)