17 Feb The Holy Lenten Season
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry” (Gospel of Luke, Chapter 4, verses 1-2).
According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke of the Holy Bible, Lent ( Quadragesima, Fortieth in Latin) is described as the period with a duration of 40 days, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ends before Easter Sunday. This commemorates the 40 days and nights spent by Jesus in the Judaean Desert in prayer, fasting and solitude. “The spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness ” (Mark 1:12)
The Holy Bible has many incidents depicting a period of 40 days. Some of these instances and its significance is mentioned here
▪︎ Jesus spent 40 days of intense praying and fasting in the Judaean wilderness.
▪︎ The flood which caused devastation, was due to the rainfall spanning 40 days and nights (Genesis 6:9-9:28)
▪︎ Moses fasted twice and for 40days each time on Mount Sinai. He fasted for 3 consecutive 40 day durations.
▪︎ The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness after which they were led into God’s Promised Land.
Important Days in the Catholic Liturgical Calendar – Season of Lent:
Ash Wednesday – 17th February 2021
Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) – 28th March 2021
>Maundy or Holy Thursday – 1st April 2021.
>Good Friday – 2nd April 2021
>Holy Saturday – 3rd April 2021
Easter Sunday – 4th April 2021
Pentecost will be celebrated on 23rd May 2021. The day of Pentecost is celebrated on the 5th Sunday or, 50 days after Easter Sunday.
As we prepare ourselves to start the Season of Lent, it is important that each one of us observe this holy period with due reverence and fervour during each day of this Lenten season. We need to remind ourselves that Jesus spent 40 days and nights in fasting, prayer and solitude; withstanding any and all temptations.
Satan said “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, ‘He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Luke 4:9–13) citing Psalms 91:12. Jesus replied “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7) quoting Deuteronomy 6:16.
Jesus replied saying, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3). This was in response to Satan’s attempt at tempting Jesus to turn stones into bread.
Satan said to Jesus “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” Jesus replied “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and only Him shall you serve.” (Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20).
Lent is considered as a holy time in the Catholic Liturgical Calendar. During this holy period, devotees are encouraged to spend as much time at intense prayer, penance, sacrifice, purification, reconciliation with God, repentance of sins, renewal of oneself, in order to live our lives as per God’s will and observation of fasting.
It may be easier said than done or practised by every Roman Catholic, as every human being is unique and yet different from the other. However, it is with the grace through Prayer that one consciously marks the start of one’s spiritual journey. Though our spiritual journey and growth starts with the Sacrament of Baptism.
Yes we all need to observe fasting if we can and, medically able to; besides abstaining from meat etc. It’s not about the food but our ability and desire to resist any temptations that could hinder our fasting.
It is about maintaining a fast from all the unhealthy ways of living, thinking, behaviours that are displeasing to God’s will, and as well as toxic to one’s own life and to those around.
It is not about refraining from all such unhealthy ways and practices just during the period of Lent but to maintain this each day of our lives. It may seem impossible and difficult, but nothing is impossible with Jesus and Mother Mary’s assistance and guidance.
Each one of us needs to reflect and contemplate about our lives. Each one of us has to think:
“ How have I been living my life?〞
“ Have I been living my life in accordance to God’s will?〞
“ Are my habits, lifestyle, behaviour, mind-set, speech, actions are all pleasing to Jesus?” Or “Am I pleasing myself, my friends and everyone else?〞
“ Do I spare some meaningful and worthy time from my apparent lifestyle/schedule for daily prayers? 〞
These are few questions that may help you in your self-retrospection. However, you may dive deeper in your thoughts and conscience that may enable you to find a deeper meaning to the sense of abstinence and fasting. Therefore, it is entirely up to each one of us how we truly wish to prepare for the Lenten Season, and how we honestly want to observe it with all the reverence, fervour and devotion.
Have a blessed Lenten Season.