Why do we Observe Lent?

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Lent might seem pretty confusing to most Non-Catholics, hey it’s a confusing time for a lot of Catholics too.

For some it might be an opportunity to go on a diet, for others, it might be a chance to grow that beard without escaping the wrath of their parents. But let me tell you, the season of Lent is so much more than this.

Lent is a time of prayer, repentance, and recommitment leading up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter. It spans for a period of 40 days not counting sundays, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, that is one day before Easter

Although it began as a Roman Catholic tradition, Christians of various denominations participate in Lent.

Why Do We Fast on Lent

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Lent begins with humility on Ash Wednesday. It is a day when people are imprinted with ash on their forehead in the form of a cross, to remind them of their mortality and complete dependence on God.

It also is a constant reminder of the many sacrifices of Christ which purifies us and makes us worthy to go to God.

Why 40 Days?

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The 40 days is a symbolic representation of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, fighting and enduring the many temptations of Satan before he goes on to start his ministry.

Forty is a significant number in the Bible. For instance, Moses waited for 40 days to receive the Law on Mt. Sinai.

The people of Israel rambled in the wilderness for forty years before they could enter the promised land.

Similarly, Elijah journeyed for forty days to meet God at Mount Horeb and most importantly, Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness.

How to Prepare for Lent

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Let the season of Lent not be just about fulfilling your scheduled ‘sacrifices’. It is the intent behind it that is important.

When you sacrifice, let your heart be in the right place. The Bible, in fact, tells us indirectly not to frown, or put on a show when you are fasting, smile, make it seem like you have just had a feast, don’t let people know that you’re sacrificing, God already knows everything.

Let it not be about obligation, let it be about cleansing yourself for God. Trust me, when Easter comes, you will experience the joy of the Holy Spirit that will change your life.

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Saint of the Day: St. Margaret Clitherow

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St. Margaret Clitherow, a woman of great beauty and zeal was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, to protestant parents. She married a well to do grazer John Clitherow, with whom she had 2 children. Her charming personality and cleaver mind led her to harbor fugitive priests. Due to this she was imprisoned by hostile authorities.

She was constantly tested and forced to denounce her faith however Margaret was relentless and stood firm in what she believed in. After multiple attempts to make her deny God, she was finally sentenced to death on March 25 1856. Her death sentence was to be carried out in a gruesome manner by getting her pressed top death.

The extent of her holiness and faith in God can be seen when she writes a letter to her friend saying “The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask all good people to do likewise.” Her feast day is celebrated on March 26th.