THE SEASON OF LENT
The word “Lent” comes from an old Anglo- Saxon word “Lencten,” as in “lengthen.” The sunlight lengthens as we approach the beginning of Spring. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is a 40-day period (not counting Sundays) before we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday. This year we will celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 9.
At its heart, Lent is about our need for personal examination and repentance which can lead to spiritual renewal and growth. It is about becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ and following closely in his path.
Did you know that the word “disciple” occurs 269 times in the New Testament, and “discipline” and “disciple” come from the same root? In many ways, to be a disciple is to be a person of discipline. A true disciple pays attention to what is most important and focuses his or her attention on doing what is most needed.
And what is most important and most needed?
During the season of Lent, we begin our worship with these words of exhortation:
“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to contend against all evil and resist everything that leads us away from the love of God and neighbor. I invite you therefore, to take up the disciplines of Lent: self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, charity and works of love, as together we are strengthened and renewed by God’s Word and Sacraments.”
On Ash Wednesday, we were called to accept two “hard” truths: 1) that we are mortal and will die one day, and 2) that we are sinners who cannot free ourselves from sin. We were also reminded that time is passing, and this “wake-up call” should not be ignored. The only one who can save us from death and eternal condemnation is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Now some believers find that giving something up for Lent is a helpful practice. Others prefer to take on something new. In any case, it is good to remember that what we give up or what we take on does not make us holy or righteous. As one writer put it, “Our works do not bring God closer to us.
At best, they bring us closer to God.”
Let us become true disciples of Jesus Christ during this season of Lent. Now is the time!
May God bless you and yours.