What is Lent?
Lent is the 40-day season of preparation for Easter. Lent has two major purposes: It recalls or prepares for Baptism, and emphasizes a spirit of penance. Through forty days of closer attention to God’s Word and of more fervent prayer, we are prepared to celebrate the Paschal Mystery.
Lent is a time of preparation to celebrate the paschal mystery through reminders of our baptism and penitential practices. Lent is a privileged time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This season provides an opportunity to renew and deepen our relationship with Jesus, and to renew the choices we make, so that we might live as he taught.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and continues until the beginning of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving
Prayer – By devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception, and then to find the consolation God offers.
Almsgiving – Almsgiving “sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbour as a brother or sister.” We give alms to help God’s poor and support the good works of the Church.
Fasting – Through fasting, Pope Francis explains that we find our “spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.”