Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lent: Our Pilgrimage of Faith

I have never really observed lent with such depth like I am this year. Somehow it has taken on a greater meaning in this time of world economic crisis, especially following a very hard winter here in Western, NY. The following is a lovely piece about Lent as our pilgrimage of faith.

The season of LENT is the most penitential period of the Church Year. It is a time for Christians to focus our attention on human redemption through Christ’s suffering and death. The word LENT means springtime. It is from the Old English word “lengthen” recalling the lengthening of days as the dead of winter gives way to the renewing of life in spring. In the northern hemisphere we move closer to the sun, the source of life. As Christians we move closer to the Son during Lent for he is our source of life everlasting. LENT lasts 40 days and is part of the 93 day PASCHAL CYCLE, which also includes Triduum (3 days) and the 50 days of Easter. The number 40 is significant because it reminds us of the 40 days Noah, his family and God’s creatures were saved from the flood. It is the period of time that Moses, Elijah and Jesus spent in fasting as they prepared for the ministries to which God called them. It is symbolic of the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the wilderness. In the early church, a 40-day period of preparation was observed for the baptismal candidates who would study, fast and otherwise make ready for baptism and entrance into the Holy Communion on Easter. It is therefore meet and right for us as Christians to observe the forty days of Lent as our preparation time for the
celebration of Easter. The tradition of the Church and the mandate of the Gospel call us to turn away from our sins, which alienate us from God. Self-denial is one way that we can remind ourselves of the great sacrifice Jesus Christ made on our behalf. The 6th chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew advises penance in three forms: Giving of alms (works of charity toward others), prayer, and fasting. Matthew is quick to point out, though, that we don’t do these things to be praised or noticed by others, but to praise God who has already rewarded us by his grace. Lent asks us to discipline our lives by praying and meditating on God’s Word.

This piece on lent was taken from:

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