The days between Ash Wednesday and Easter are conventionally referred to as the season of Lent. The year, Ash Wednesday falls on February 22, and Easter on April 8. For Catholics, this is a very important time of year. These 40 days ask us to seek conversion–a change of heart–and repentance, which means turning away from sin and seeking a closer relationship with God.
For many people, Lent is a time to give up some pleasure or to do some extra act of charity or personal discipline. This reminds us not to be ruled by the desires of our physical senses, but to seek instead to prepare for the celebration of Easter. This is reflected in our liturgical celebrations, by somber purple vestments and decorations, and by not proclaiming an Alleluia before the Gospel is read. This solemn tone heightens the anticipation of the bright, joyous celebration of Easter.
The traditional disciplines of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Increased attention to prayer draws us closer to God. Fasting is a reminder that our physical satisfaction isn’t our highest value, and almsgiving asks us to sacrifice something of ourselves for the good of others.
Ask yourself if you could give something up for Lent that would serve to remind you of the disciplines of this season.