Scripture tells us that after Jesus’s Baptism and before He began His public ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert in prayer. There, He was tempted by the devil. Jesus resisted every temptation that came His way, preparing Himself to minister to the people of Galilee. Temptation is a part of our fallen world, and our desire to give into temptation is a result of original sin.
This is why we traditionally give something up during Lent. In doing so, we unite ourselves with Christ in the desert, recognizing that fasting from the things of this world helps to orient ourselves to Christ and His Paschal Mystery—His passion, death, and resurrection.
“Lent holds a pivotal place in the liturgical year as it mirrors the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert preparing for His ministry,” Fr. Tom says. “It’s a time for us to reflect, repent, and refocus our lives on Christ. Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, Lent helps us deepen our relationship with God and prepare our hearts to fully embrace the significance of Easter.”
This is vital as Easter is the central mystery of our faith. Through His death and resurrection, Christ has broken the chains of death. He invites us to new life in Him, and that life is a life we can participate in, in part, here and now through Word and sacrament until we enter into eternal glory and new life more fully. Yet, Christ does not force it upon us. He beckons us to Himself, but He does not force us to turn to Him. We must make the choice to turn away from the things of this world and embrace life in Christ. Lent offers us a particular opportunity to do just that.
“Actively engaging in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent is essential for spiritual growth,” Fr. Tom says. “Prayer connects us intimately with God, fasting helps us detach from worldly distractions, and almsgiving encourages us to be more charitable and empathetic toward others, following Jesus’s example of selflessness.”
Find concrete ways to actively live the Lenten season accordingly. Make an effort to attend daily Mass — there is no greater prayer we can pray. You may also spend more time in personal prayer and reflection. Then, consider fasting from the things of this world. The luxuries and habits we have are not necessarily bad in themselves, but giving some of them up in favor of spending more time and energy on acts of charity will serve to build your faith life and serve as a witness to the Gospel. What’s more, Fr. Tom suggests that we all make an effort to get involved in Lenten study groups, focusing our hearts and minds on this sacred season together as a community.
In addition, there will be many opportunities to receive the grace of Christ through the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent. Reconciliation is offered Monday through Saturday, from 7 to 7:45 a.m. In addition, we will have a penance service, the schedule for which is forthcoming.
“Participating in these services offers a profound opportunity for spiritual cleansing and renewal,” Fr. Tom says. “Confession allows us to seek God’s forgiveness, penance services offer communal reconciliation, and Stations of the Cross help us meditate on Christ’s sacrifice.”
The schedule for Stations of the Cross will be published in the bulletin. Make time to go.
“As Lent approaches, I encourage all parishioners to embrace this season as a time of grace and transformation,” Fr. Tom says. “Let us use this period to draw closer to God, allowing His love to guide us in renewing our commitment to live as disciples of Christ. May this Lenten season be a time of profound spiritual growth and a renewed sense of God’s presence in our lives.”