Lent began on Ash Wednesday Feb. 14th and continues for 40+ days until Holy Thursday eve March 28th.  This Lent offers us an opportunity for growth. Lent isn’t a sprint, it is a marathon. The issue(s) you are dealing with now will change as your journey progresses. Start with one main issue and see what surfaces as you pilgrimage forward.

Each Lent differs from any prior Lent we have experienced. With each subsequent Lent, we are in a new and unique point of our life cycle and, as such, require fresh insights into the areas where we require growth. We are in different places spiritually. We may have lost a loved one and are grieving. The experience of each Lent is cumulative. The sum of our lifetime of Lents taken together prepares us for our future meeting with God.

One way of looking at Lent is as a retreat. Jesus himself retreated into the desert for that long period. During this sojourn he fasted, was tempted, and made life defining choices. In the same way during the season of Lent, we believers retreat with the catechumens to wrestle with evil, scrutinize our hearts, and make life giving choices. A retreat is a time of spiritual growth and illumination. Lent is all about purification and enlightenment. As with any retreat, many ups and downs, mood shifts, and awakenings occur during this sacred period.

Our life now is a preparation for our own death and meeting with God. Lent serves to awaken us to this true meaning of life in an intense way. We prepare for Easter and ready ourselves for our own passing.

Traditionally, Lent has been viewed as a penitential season. We express this by wearing purple at our liturgies. Penance means to be sorry for wrong deeds and to express our remorse through right actions. These actions shouldn't just be individual and internal but also external and social. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #110)

Lent is a time when we emphasize self-discipline and self- control. We must curb and gain control over our appetites and will. The best way to turn away from bad habits is to be motivated and replace them with better habits. We also examine our lives regarding sin and turn away from wrong actions.

The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We pray to come to know God. We fast in obedience in order to gain self-control. We give alms to help others and to grow in generosity. During this long season, we hope to progress in our ongoing conversion. We desire to get closer to God and to experience intimacy. We want to gain self-control. The goal is to grow in virtues such as generosity, patience, and forgiveness. The only way to progress in virtue is to practice virtuous deeds.

Remember, the journey of Lent is not a sprint, but a marathon. If things don’t seem to be happening right away, be patient. Lent is about our personal purification: Personal change. This is called “on-going conversion.” Conversion is our movement towards God, our improvement as God’s people and our striving to become the best we can be. Think progression, not perfection. Change is incremental and will happen if we stay determined. 

Lent is also about enlightenment. Through prayer, reading and celebrating the sacramental mysteries our hearts will be illumined and we will deepen our walk with God. Lent is the season to go from the superficial to the supernatural.

You will experience a significant, even life-changing Lent as you concentrate on reaching out to others, personal change and illumination with God.

Excerpts from the book: Your Best Lent Ever! By Fr. Cedric found at: www.frcedric.org or 713-464-4932.





Fr. Cedric Ministries
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