I must admit, I’m not sure if wishing you a “Happy Lent” is really appropriate. The Gospel reading for this coming Sunday is Luke 4:1-13, the Temptation of Christ in the desert. While the historical event is one of the victory of good over evil, it is also a story of suffering. This is the intention of the discipline of Lent. We are told to give up something; something that is significant to us, but not necessarily punishing. We are not to give it up for no reason. We are told to replace it with something edifying. Perhaps you are going to give up social media and use that reclaimed time to read Spiritual books, Scripture, pray, etc. This is time of preparation, of dreadful expectation at the horrific even that is the Cross. While our journey will be rewarded two days later, we must never forget that Easter Sunday requires Good Friday. Here’s a great post from Cardinal Dolan (New York) on the purpose of Lent and how Ash Wednesday makes us all “marked men” (and women”).
If you’re looking for some ideas of what to do this Lent, here are some ideas. Lent typically has been seen as a time of making penance and showing charity.
- For my Catholic readers, Lent is a discipline and you have some expectations of what you are to do, codified in Canon Law. Here’s a great summary from EWTN.
- Rachel Held Evans has some great suggestions on what to do during this season.
- The Brothers at the Society of St. John the Evangelist will be publishing a video series beginning today, Ash Wednesday. You can view it here and sign up to be alerted when new videos are published.
I hope you’ll find something useful here to help you along your journey. I for one am very excited to attend my very first Ash Wednesday service (like, first ever!) at St. Paul’s Bloor Street Anglican Church. I am especially looking forward to wearing my ashes all day (if I don’t accidentally wipe them off).