The season of Lent

The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and concludes with the Easter celebrations. Lent is a time of preparation for the great feast of Easter. To mark the beginning of the Lenten season we sign ourselves with ashes as an indication of our willingness to turn away from sin in our lives and to be more faithful in our Christian living. We listen to the voice of Jesus who began his preaching with the words “Repent, and believe the Good News.” In these Lenten days Jesus invites us to repent and believe. He invites us to a renewal of life and a fresh approach at living our Christian discipleship.

What to do during Lent

The traditional penitential exercises of the Lenten season are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These are the tried and tested practices that are found in the Bible.

In prayer we make time to deepen our relationship with God. We listen to the Word of God and try to discern what God is calling us to in our daily living. We bring our needs and concerns to the Lord in prayer and ask his help with the difficulties we may be experiencing in life.

In fasting from food, drink or other activities we acknowledge that our dependance is on God alone. Jesus said that “Man does not live on bread alone.” Our salvation is not something we can earn by means of our labour or something guaranteed by whatever wealth or possessions we may have. Our salvation is a gift from God, freely given for no other reason than that he loves us. Salvation comes through our belief in Jesus, through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

In almsgiving we show our care and compassion for others, mindful of Jesus who always reached out to others in their need. We share something of our abundance to enhance the quality of life of others. It may often be financial support that we give but it can also be our time given to others, a helping hand or a listening ear or just being there for someone who needs our support at a particular moment or in a particular way.