The Season of Lent
Sometimes people ask each other and have asked me ” Did you have a good Lent” or ” What are you going to do for Lent”. As for the first question , it’s unclear what a good Lent entails and it might seem odd to be using the word “good” about a season traditionally seen as being austere and associated with fasting, penance and self denial. On it’s own, Lent is meaningless. It is a time of preparation for Easter, the most important feast of the Christian year, celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The word ” Lent” comes from the Anglo Saxon word for springtime lecton. March was the month which marked the lengthening of the days and the transition from winter to spring. For the early Christians, preparation of Easter involved a two day period of fasting. It meant a complete abstention from food for the whole or part of the designated fasting period. The fast in preparation for Easter was gradually extended to the whole of Holy Week, and by the fourth century was observed in many places as a forty day period, reflecting Jesus’s stay in the desert in the Gospel of Matthew.
Fasting a penitential practice is aimed at strengthening the spiritual life through self denial. However, it is only one aspect of the season of Lent. As preparation for Easter, this period offers an opportunity to prayerfully reflect on the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is reflected in the popular devotional, the Stations of the Cross, a practice recalling the journey of Jesus on the way to Calvary. Easter is also the time for Christians already baptized to reflect on the meaning of their own baptism and to renew their vow. Finally, Lent is also a time for repentance and conversion. This is reflected on the purple in use on the church vestments . May we use this time of preparation to pray and reflect on the gift that Jesus gave us of his death and resurrection.
Classes are going well at Boston College, currently taking classes on Ignatian Spirituality and the Gospel of John. Despite doing the classes virtually, it’s been fun to be in a classroom environment and being challenged. I also have decided to go for a certificate in Christian Spirituality. It’s a six class curriculum, so hoping to have that completed by the end of the 2023 academic year. Also, looking forward to going to the campus a handful of times during this year.