Lent is here! Lent is traditionally a period of fasting or self-denial. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, people usually give up a particular food or habit, like smoking or tv or candy. It’s six weeks of practicing self-discipline.
Fasting can be a good thing, and God is pleased when we repent of sinful habits. But the bible is clear that grace cannot be earned, it is a gift. So keep that in mind as we embark on this season of giving up. Each week, you will be challenged to give up a worldly trait, one that may be a large part of who you are! Yet we are to view this “giving up” as a sacrament with value for our spiritual growth.
Jesus reminds us that when we are in a season of fasting, we should be humble about it. “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:16-18). May this season of Lent truly be a time of growth for you all!