Lent 2019 began on Ash Wednesday which was March 6th this year. The approximately 40-day period of Lent 2019 ends before Easter on Holy Saturday, April 20th. This holy period of religious observance is meant to help people remember the length of time Jesus spent in the desert resisting the temptation of Satan.
The Purpose of Lent
The purpose of Lent is to prepare for Easter through prayer, doing penance, repenting and donating to the poor. Observing Lent can help change our perception and perspective on life and how we view the world. Here are a few examples below:
Getting Ashes- “From dust to dust we shall return”
Getting ashes during Lent reminds us of our mortality. Knowing we will not live forever stresses the importance of each day and helps us to remember not to waste any time. We can be more grateful and appreciative of the people in our lives and moments shared when reminded of our impermanence. Leaving ashes on your forehead for the remainder of the day is an outward symbol of your grief, repentance and purification.
Do you give up anything in observance of Lent? Many people make sacrifices during Lent, not to punish themselves, but to realize that you can live simpler and still lead a full life. It helps to remind us that the extra luxuries we enjoy in life are not what sustains us.
Can you guess the most popular sacrifices made during Lent?
While the food category has always been a popular sacrifice for those celebrating Lent, technology has now become the most popular thing to give up during these 40 days. Social Media Networking now tops the list as the most popular thing to sacrifice during Lent. Next on the list are types of food and drink including meat, chocolate, candy, soda or sugar. Some people choose to give up alcohol. Others choose to give up certain behaviors like swearing or yelling. Many people also focus not on what to give up, but how to give – such as giving their time to help others.
Making donations, whether in monetary form or as volunteer time or work, is a part of Lent as well. Contributing a part of ourselves is another way to celebrate Lent by giving time or money to help someone without the expectation of something in return.
People like to celebrate Lent by praying. There are many ways to pray including praying while attending mass, praying on your own or tuning in to a radio station or Catholic news outlet that broadcasts prayers as well, for example, you can pray the Stations of the Cross with EWTN.
What are some ways you choose to observe Lent? Feel free to share in the comments below.