Lent is the season that leads up to the most holy and sacred time of the Christian year: the Paschal Triduum, or the great three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, culminating in the Great Vigil of the Resurrection. Lent leads us through the desert to the cross, and from the cross to Easter.
From ancient times, Christians have prepared for Easter with a season of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. These spiritual disciplines help to strip away all the little things that get in the way of our relationship with God. It's not about punishing ourselves. We're quite capable of being hard on ourselves all the time, as we are confronted daily with our shortcomings and failures. Rather, Lent gives us an opportunity to simplify, to focus, and to reconnect to the beauty and delight that we find in God.
Rising to the Challenge
Lent is like a spiritual workout session, setting goals for ourselves that help us to rise to the challenge of living as disciples of Jesus Christ. Fasting helps us to gain control over our appetites, and to discern what our bodies really need from what they simply want. If we start to notice our cravings for fast food or potato chips, and instead of blindly giving in we stop and think, "Do I need this?", then we grow stronger, more self-controlled as people. It helps us to be more aware of our bodies and our willpower, and ultimately it can help in our struggle against all sorts of sin.
Special Services of Lent and Holy Week
The season is marked with special services and liturgies, beginning with Ash Wednesday and concluding with the Paschal Triduum. The liturgies are listed here. As Lent unfolds, click the link provided to learn more about the services.
Lent & Holy Week 2017
Ash Wednesday, March. Services at:
Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, April 9