History: Lent has been part of the Church’s life for at least the past 1700 years. It began as a period of special preparation for adults being baptized during the Easter vigil. Gradually it became a period of penance and conversion for public sinners and also for devout members of the community.
Purpose of Lent today: Lent is a time of prayer and penance, when Christ wants to lead us back to our baptismal promises of dying to sin and of living for God. We prepare ourselves to enter once again into Jesus’ Paschal mystery and to renew it in our lives.
• Dying to sin. During Lent, God’s people seek to put sin out of their lives by uprooting habits and tendencies that are contrary to God’s will. It is a time of conversion, of turning away from our sins and of turning back to God.
• Living for God. The Lord Jesus is calling us to be people of praise and prayer, and living signs of his love for all. During Lent, we open our hearts to our Father, so that we may live with Christ for God.
Lenten works: What should we be doing for Lent? Today the Church invites us to prepare for Easter by doing individual penance and penance as a group; by reading God’s word more carefully; by praying more ardently, including sincere prayer for sinners; by giving of ourselves to the service of God’s people.
All weekdays in Lent are days of special penance. We are obliged to join the Church around the world in fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday we keep the solemn Paschal fast.
Ten forms of penance: These are “the top ten “in the tradition of the Christian people. They are our daily responsibility as believers; in Lent, we concentrate on them even more seriously:
- Giving up sin
- Doing good works
- Giving alms
- Carrying out our duties of life
- Meditative reading
- Controlling our desire for possessions
- Controlling our desire for entertainment
–The text above is excerpted from the leaflet “Living Lent” published by Publications Service, CCCB.