Creative Commons. Gpx by Caroline Purtle (Photo by stephen gibson
Creative Commons. Gpx by Caroline Purtle

Photo by stephen gibson

40 days and 40 nights

Senior describes her Catholic tradition of lent

March 27, 2015

Yes, I have a cross of ashes on my forehead. Yes, I know I smeared it across my face. Yes, I am a participant of Lent. It’s the 40 days that every Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal look forward to during the cold month of February. Each day, those who are devoted to this short period of fasting yearn for Easter to arrive so that they can return to their normal schedule.

No meat on Fridays. Give up something you’re used to doing every day. Go to church every Sunday. Seems a little structured to an outsider who has never heard of such a thing.

It’s true. There are a lot of rules that must be followed during this time period, but it is your choice whether or not to follow these rules.

Here’s a little history lesson behind Lent:

During these sometimes painful six weeks, Christians are encouraged to give up something or start something as a form of penitence. According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent his time fasting in the desert. He was tempted by the Devil, which relates back to us as we endure the sometimes difficult choice of deciding what to give up on Ash Wednesday.

I’m not saying that Lent is an experience that I dread every year, because I don’t. In fact, I look forward to the day when I can begin a journey that will not only improve my relationship with God, but also allow me to accept a challenge that I am willing to take.

As Easter approaches, I can only imagine what everyone else is thinking once the day arrives. Endless foods and sodas that were ignored for 40 days can now come out of hiding and become consumed within minutes. What a sweet reward in honor of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As many of us get caught up in all of the talk of Lent, the true meaning still remains. As Christians, we give up something or begin something just as Jesus gave up his life to forgive us for our sins. With that in mind, this short period of time should be acknowledged because six weeks can fly by when you are thinking of the history behind it all.

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