Lent 2018 began on Wednesday, February 14
ending on Thursday, March 29 and for
Latin-rite Catholics with Easter Sunday on April 1.
I got my Ash in church, I hope you got yours too. Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday starts Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is primarily observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too.
The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God.
The ashes are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of high importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer, penance, and almsgiving.
Lent does not technically include any Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter Saturday. That’s why this period, traditionally lasting forty days, actually takes up forty-six on your calendar. Lent 2018 Liturgical Calendar usccb.org
In addition to fasting, abstinence from meat was to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays and Saturdays in Lent. A rule of thumb is that the two light, informal meals should not add up to the equivalent of another full meal. Rather portions were to be: “sufficient to sustain strength, but not sufficient to satisfy hunger”. With that, if you are already fasting from meat on Friday’s like myself, then choose something else to fast from on Friday’s as your additional penance.
Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life. ~ Pope Francis
Lent is training, testing, and preparing…
Lent is not in the bible but you have the 40 days throughout the whole bible.
- The 40 days of the flood, it rains 40 days and 40 nights.
- The Israelites in the desert for 40 years. They are being trained, were tested and prepared to enter into the promise land.
- Jesus himself goes into the wilderness to do battle with the devil. To be trained, tested (trials) and to prepare for his ministry.
So as followers of Christ Christian’s we do what Jesus did, and take 40 days to train, being tested (trials), and to prepare. Christian’s want to engage in battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
What is the point of Lent?
Jesus would often talk about these three areas: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving
Choose “one” of these and do that thing, but when you do it be really intentional.
- Add more prayer, a thing that will get me closer to Jesus
- Fasting on Wednesday and Friday. What kind of fast do you need to have in your life? Your fast doesn’t have to have anything to do with food. Anything that you can remove from your life that will purify your life and bring you closer to our Lord. Something that is keeping us from our Lord, like social media, using your phone, TV, etc. They take up time we can be spending with Him.
- Almsgiving doesn’t have to be money. You can give time, a short note of gratitude for 40 days to bless somebody else.
Don’t worry if you’re human like the rest of us and have ups, downs, sideways, twists and turns. It’s all part of the journey. The devil will try his best to distract us like Jesus in the desert, so we must be strong and resist his temptations. If you fall, get back up and start again and don’t lose hope. Trust in Gods plans for you and will all be as it should. Never give up and keep asking Him for guidance and forgiveness and thank Him for all he has done for us already. May your journey be fruitful!
Blessings in Carmel ~ Tina Marie
Lenten Prayer for Spiritual Renewal
God, heavenly Father, look upon me and hear my prayer during
this holy Season of Lent. By the good works You inspire, help me
to discipline my body and to be renewed in spirit.
Without You I can do nothing. By Your Spirit help me to know
what is right and to be eager in doing Your will. Teach me to find
new life through penance. Keep me fromsin, and help me live by
Your commandment of love. God of love, bring me back to You.
Send Your Spirit to make me strong in faith and active in good
works. May my acts of penance bring me Your forgiveness, open
my heart to Your love, and prepare me for the coming feast of the
Resurrection of Jesus.
Lord, during this Lenten Season, nourish me with Your Word of
life and make me one with You in love and prayer. Fill my heart
with Your love and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ. Give
me the grace to rise above my human weakness. Give me new life
by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.
Father, our source of life, I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand;
let me walk more readily in Your ways. Guide me in Your gentle
mercy, for left to myself I cannot do Your Will. Father of love, source
of all blessings, help me to pass from my old life of sin to the new life
of grace. Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask this through
our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and
the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.