A Time Called…LENT
Some of us may have grown up thinking that Lent was a time to keep personal enjoyment in check and to focus on personal guilt. That emphasis was to ensure we appreciated what Jesus suffered and accomplished in Holy Week. But Lent can also reveal the great blessings of being a Christian.
Historical Roots of Lent
In the early church, Lent was a time of training and preparation for baptismal candidates at Easter. By the fourth century, it developed into a 40-day period, following the biblical pattern of 40 days or 40 years of preparation and anticipation. The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Saturday. In its early form, elements of penitence were included. Lent, in our tradition, is a time to re-examine and reaffirm our identity as people baptized into Christ’s body, the church.
Finding Meaning in the Tradition
Our baptism is a symbolic dying and rising with Christ. During Lent, we turn with Christ towards these events in his life. Along the way the Spirit gives the opportunity for us to redirect and refocus our lives, and more fully realize our baptismal identity. We recall where we are going and what it cost God for us to become resurrection people. We become open to the possibilities of new beginnings all around us. The season of Lent points us to Easter.
Questions for Personal Meditation
- Is there something in my life that needs to die so that I can move toward a new life with Christ?
- What are the important ingredients in my Lenten journey?
- If I am not baptized, might this become preparation for a step of faith?