Greetings my dear friends,
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness...” Luke 4:1-2
This passage from Saint Luke, as we read, comes right after Jesus’ baptism. Before beginning his public ministry, Jesus was baptized and then led into the desert where he spent forty days and forty nights. That is the scriptural basis for our Season of Lent.
We also imitate Jesus as we journey through the desert of this Lenten Season. As the pamphlet from Our Sunday Visitor states about Jesus, “He prayed, fasted, confronted temptation, and prepared for the journey that was to come.”
Our road map for Lent comes from the gospel that we listened to on Ash Wednesday, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18, which tells us to pray, to give alms, and to fast. This means, “using God’s Word and centuries of spiritual practices and devotions, we can, little by little, set aside what distracts and harms us, open our lives to deep conversion to the Lord, and emerge ready to enter into the lasting joy of life with the Risen Christ.”
A brief history on the Season of Lent: “Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for catechumens, or people who were pre- paring to be baptized at Easter. The fast, originally two days, then for the length of Holy Week, had expanded to a 40-day fast by the fourth century.
As infant baptism became the rule in Christianity, the preparation season for Easter remained. Christians had always prayed and fasted for the catechumens, and as baptismal practices changed, those days became a time of prayer, penance, and conversion of heart for all Christians.”
Lent truly has a rich history in the Church and it is a blessed time for all of us. May we continue to make the most of this blessed time.