Lent
(from the Old English word 'lencten' meaning 'Spring')
Lent is a solemn period of repentance, fasting, and abstinence leading up to the greatest Christian festival of Easter. It lasts for six and a half weeks or 40 days excluding Sundays.

The number 40 is significant. It reminds Christians how the Jews, escaping slavery in Egypt, wandered for 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the promised land. During this time they were tempted and their faith tested.

During Lent Christians remember how Jesus was tempted and his faith tested for 40 days in the wilderness before he began his mission of teaching and healing.


The pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem
According to the Gospels, Jesus was tempted by Satan three times to bring in his new world vision by force. Jesus refused each attempt - to turn stones into bread, to prove who he was by throwing himself from the Temple, and to receive worship from the nations of the world if he would bow down to Satan.
For Christians Lent is a time to examine their own lives; a challenge to reject the temptations which lead them away from God. They also remember the sufferings of Jesus at the hands of the Sanhedrin and Pilate, the Roman Governor, especially during the last week of Lent which is called Holy Week.

During Lent Christians may undertake a number of strategies to help them concentrate on their sins and try to do better. Traditionally this included avoiding luxuries such as sugar, not eating meat on Fridays (the day Jesus died), fasting on certain days (Ash Wednesday, Good Friday), praying and attending church more frequently. Today some Christians feel that they ought to do something more positive than simply denying themselves, so they may undertake some local project to help others or collect money for charity.

Catholic Agency for Overseas Development
and
Christian Aid
are two of the charities
for which Christians
might collect during Lent.

Stations of the Cross

Some churches have 14 pictures on their walls which show the events from Jesus' sentencing to death by Pilate through to his crucifixion. Christians may 'visit' each of these 'stations' in turn, remembering what happened to Jesus and saying prayers. Some churches add a fifteenth station to show the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Day.

Visit the Catholic First Information Center to see their Stations of the Cross page for more information.

The whole 'flavour' of Lent is one of repentance and spiritual renewal.
 

  © Mr.B at Farcaster Communications