The word Lent is from the Anglo-Saxon lencten (spring). This penitential season of six Sundays and forty weekdays prepares us for the great feast of Easter, and it begins today.
Historically, Lent was the retreat-like final preparation for those who would be initiated into the Church at Easter. Many others began using the time for repentance and renewal.
I was talking to a friend last night, and we were discussing ways in which we can use these days. What do we need to repent of? Where do we need renewal? Historically, people give up something during the season of Lent. Of course, if you choose to give something up, it should have meaning.
A seafood lover who gives up meat and sticks to fish and lobster isn’t really getting it. One boy in my class last night said that he’s giving up his daily scoop of ice cream that he has after dinner. That’s more like it.
Another student mentioned that we don’t have to just give something up. We can also do something good for other people. He’s a wise kid. Giving alms to the poor has always been one of our great Lenten practices. Every church has a means to give money to those who are less fortunate. If you choose this, don’t give of your excess. Make it hurt a bit.
No matter what, stretch yourself this Lent. Pray more. Eat less. Live more simply. Seek forgiveness. Be forgiving. Find God in all things.
Prayer of Trust
I fly to your mercy, Compassionate God, who alone are good. Although my misery is great, and my offenses are many, I trust in your mercy, because you are the God of mercy; and from time immemorial, it has never been heard of, nor do heaven and earth remember, that a soul trusting in your mercy has been disappointed.
O God of compassion, you alone can justify me, and you will never reject me when I, contrite, approach your merciful heart, where no one has ever been refused even if he were the greatest sinner.
St. Faustina Kowalska