40 days of Lent

What is Lent?

Lent is the forty day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter.  The forty days are symbolic of the time Jesus spent in the desert preparing for his public ministry, enduring temptation and discerning his vocation. The English word Lent comes from the Germanic root for “long,” recognizing that the days grow longer during the spring.  The Spanish word for Lent, cuaresma, derives from the Latin “quadragesima,” meaning “fortieth day.”

In the Ash Wednesday scriptures, we hear God’s great desire.  The invitation was simple and beautiful: “Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart.”  The season of Lent is our response, a time of preparing ourselves for a return to intimacy with our loving God. 

And so each year, Christians prepare for the Easter season by pondering what it means to “give up, take up, and lift up.”  During these forty days we have the opportunity to reflect deeply on our lives, examine our consciences, and let go of anything that holds us back from being loved by God.

How to do Lent?

There are three traditional practices of Lent -- prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Each is intended to help us receive God’s love more fully.  One of the greatest gifts of the Lenten season is the Lenten commitment we make on Ash Wednesday that will help us enter more fully into the season.  We invite you to make a commitment this Lent. Commit yourself more to prayer, fasting, and giving.

Check out the sections above for insights into the three practices of Lent, as well as get some suggestions for how to do Lent.

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