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Lent: A Sacred season of soul searching
by jackie oneal
02/23/04
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Lent: A Sacred Season

Lent is a season on the liturgical calendar to celebrate renewal and transformation. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparation for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves. It is a sacred time to meditate on the death and resurrection of Christ. By observing the forty days of Lent, individual pilgrims emulate Christ's withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days.

Each Lenten season, pilgrims make a holy commitment to focus on sacrifice as an offering of thanksgiving. Christian pilgrims around the globe metaphorically retreat into the desert with Christ.

There is a saying: Beware lest Lent change you. One Lent season, I sacrificed sweets including desert and enjoyed the increased energy as well as some weight loss. Later, I discovered my craving for sweets had diminished. Lent had definitely changed my desert craving pattern and I am infinitely grateful.

During Lent, we deepen our understanding of the sufferings of Christ on the cross. When the angel rolled away the stone where Christ was entombed, Christ departed from the realm of death into new life. In like manner, when we accept Christ as our salvation, we break away from the death of unbelief into the new life of the Spirit.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. We skip Sundays when we count the forty days, because Sundays commemorate the Resurrection. Lent begins 25 february 2004 and ends April 10th 2004.

We create a space in our spirits to reflect on the hope of salvation for all people and pray for the renewal of faith in ourselves and on earth.

Worldwide events provoke us to remain steadfast in continual prayer: The war in Iraq, the threat of bio-terrorism, The AIDS crisis in South Africa, the corrupt governments in Latin America, and the political upheaval in Haiti are current examples.

By sacrificing some of our pleasures and retreating into the desert perhaps our prayers acquire more spiritual power as our hearts become aligned with the Holy of Holies.

During Lent, let us remember the hardships endured by pilgrims around the world and hold their needs before Christ in continual prayer.

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