We begin Lent on Wednesday 17th February, the traditional forty-day period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving which reminds us of Jesus’ own forty days in the wilderness as he prepared for his public ministry, during which time he was tempted by Satan.
The Church asks us to fast (those who are aged between 16 and 60 are to eat only one meal, and a collation) and abstain (those who are 14 and over are to refrain from eating meat) on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. The ashes we receive on Ash Wednesday (this year on the crown of our head), made from burning the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday, are a sign of our repentance and conversion.
We are called to pray more in Lent, perhaps making prayer a regular part of our daily devotions. Even a few minutes each day helps to bring us closer to God our loving Father.
We are called to fast in Lent. Fasting can take many forms – we might consider:
giving us something that we enjoy eating or drinking; or perhaps giving up some other pleasurable activity, such as watching television or spending time on Facebook; the time saved could be spent in a little prayer too;
giving up things that divert us from God, such as criticising other people, judging others’ actions, or using bad language.
Finally our Lenten actions call us to give alms, perhaps time or perhaps money, to those who are in need of our help. This can take different forms, and we usually support the Cafod Lent Fast Day which this year falls on Friday 26th February.
Let us really consider how we can make this Lent a time of personal prayer, fasting and almsgiving, so that we truly enter into that journey of conversion to Jesus.
A Marian Prayer for
those who are sick or suffering
Mary, our Mother,
in Christ you welcome each of us
as a son or daughter.
Sustain the trusting expectation of our hearts,
succour us in our infirmities and sufferings,
and guide us to Christ,
your Son and our brother.
Help us to entrust ourselves to the Father
who accomplishes great things.
Our Lady of Lourdes : Pray for us!