Faith, Magazine, Spring 2017: The Easter Issue

What is Lent & Why Does It Last 40 Days

Tamara Menzi

According to the United Methodist Church, “Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” Lent is a period similar to when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan. This is a beautiful time of the year to make atonement for sins, give alms to the poor, or volunteer to help others through charity. Many people have heard that Lent is a time to give up something. This comes from the suffering of Christ in the wilderness. He suffered so much in the 40 days alone that it is an example for Christians to openly take on their suffering to imitate Christ.

Deepening Our Faith

Christians will deepen their prayer lives, and make a reaffirmation of their faith in their hearts. It is also a time of reflection on one’s life, shortcomings, and sins. Repentance is the big theme for Lent. For Catholics, it is a time of taking the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Lent reminds us of the importance of Christ. For, without Him, we would be lost in the wilderness with no hope of salvation. This is why Lent is celebrated until Easter when Christ rises victorious over sin and death. The entire ritual of Lent is for Christians to take the same journey with Christ and renew their spiritual lives. This is the reason that Lent means “spring.” It’s a spiritual spring cleaning, so to speak. As the believer draws closer to Christ, they flee from the enemy. We imitate our loving Lord’s trials in our hearts.

Lenten Weekends

One of the more interesting things about Lent is that on weekends, the Lenten theme gives way to a mini-celebration of Christ’s victory over death and those who are suffering during Lent can relieve themselves of their Lenten burdens for a two-day period. They are called “mini-Easters” and considered just as Holy as the rest of Lent. Each weekend, it shows that Christ is the victor. Therefore, we are to celebrate Him for the gifts He bestowed on us, eternal life and grace. Lent is a time for new converts to prepare themselves for the life altering event of Baptism.

This Lent let us remember the way that Jesus suffered to pass the tests and trials of Satan and try to imitate Him. By the time Easter arrives, those undergoing Lenten preparations will be ready to fully experience the depth of love that our Savior has for us.

Let us know what Lent means to you below!

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