Lent is a time of preparation, but it is more austere than the shorter season of Advent. It is a period of anticipation for the celebration of Easter, and it finds its full meaning in the three days or sacred triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
The sacrifices that we are encouraged to make, and the additional practices we take on, prepare us for the triumphant event of Easter Day when Christ rises triumphant from the tomb. To experience the joy of Easter in our own lives we too must die with Christ in order to experience resurrection in our own lives.
Lent is a time when we are called to renew our awareness of our vocation as Christians. What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?
This penitential season encourages us to undergo a change of heart. The joy of confessing our sins and receiving freely the loving mercy of God unites us ever more deeply with Jesus. This time of forgiveness provides opportunities for healing and new beginnings.
It is traditionally a time when we show our concern for others. Going out of our way to do something extra that makes a difference, raising money for a good cause, giving time for others, are all ways of expressing the love of God for each of us and that he works in all of us.
Prayer is an important characteristic of Lent. We are all familiar with the traditional Lenten devotions of Stations of the Cross, the Dolour Rosary etc., but we need to spend quiet time reflecting on our own life in Christ. Through this time of prayer, we are able to renew our own baptism and those promises that were made on our behalf at our baptism.
It is hoped that the Lent pages on CatholicIreland.net will be of help during the great season of Lent.