Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season.
Lent is the time of year when our Catholic Church observes our forty-day journey toward Easter. The word Lent comes from the root word “lengthen.” As the days are get longer, there is rebirth in spring and we are renewing our faith.
Lent is traditionally marked by fasting, prayer and performing good deeds and charitable acts. Fasting, or giving something up for Lent is a great way to practice self-discipline, a quality that serves us well in our lives. Fasting during Lent is a very personal sacrifice, and the reward you reap from following through on your fast is a simple self-acknowledgement that you can achieve the goals you set for yourself, despite various temptations to go astray. Self-restraint and sacrifice throughout Lent helps us appreciate those things that we may take for granted, and teaches us to reflect on the more important aspects of our lives. During Lent, we also perform many good deeds and charitable acts. Doing things for the good of others, and serving others selflessly, is central to our Catholic faith.
A Lenten Prayer
Loving God of renewal
On this day, we acknowledge the need for the hope of resurrection in our lives
We ask you to bless your church:
those who guide your people,
those ordained to serve,
those called to lead.
Heavenly God of forgiveness, in these times of strife,
remember your lands:
cities ravaged by war,
people plagued by hunger,
nations unable to reunite.
God of rest, remember your people:
those cornered by fear,
those who have lost their path to you.
God of promise, remember your mercy as we enter this Lenten season.
May our fasting, prayer, and almsgiving
Bring us to the gentleness of your mercy.
God of resurrection, may we know over the next forty days,
That amid strife, shadows, and sin,
The hope and joy of the resurrection of your Son, Jesus,
Is always shining before us.