For Christians, especially Catholics, summer is not just a time to celebrate graduation
and go on vacation, it is also time for Lent. Lent is the season of reflection,
fasting, and almsgiving for Christians, particularly those who are Roman
This season commemorates not only the Passion of Jesus Christ, but also of the time he went to the desert to reflect and meditate for 40 days. This season exhorts Christians to follow in the footsteps of Christ by helping those who are in need whilst resisting the temptations of the material world.
One of the most important aspects of Lent is the spirit of Reflection. Lent is a time for Christians of all denominations to ask themselves: “Have we actually followed the tenets that Christ left for us in the past year?” Lent offers them a time to reflect on their actions the previous year and ask themselves which actions they did during the previous year were in line with Christ’s and which ones were not.
Through reflection, it is hoped that Christians would gain some insights on what they need to do to help them better follow Christ. Reflection opens one to his/her previous actions and what they could have done to make it better. It opens you to a chance to change yourself for the better by analyzing your previous decisions.
Another aspect of Lent is the spirit of Sacrifice. It doesn’t have to be anything grand or drastic like those you see on television crucifying themselves, it could be as simple as abstaining from gaming on Sundays. Christians believe that by sacrificing a little aspect of their lives, they can repay and share the sacrifice done by Jesus during his passion in their own way.
One of the more famous forms of sacrifice that christians do during Lent is fasting. Fasting is an act of abstaining to eat and drinking either all or some foods and drinks during a period of time. This act is done by a Christian when he/she eats only 1 full meal and would avoid eating red meat during fridays. Aside from this, there are also many different ways of fasting. One other way is, as I mentioned before, abstaining from playing video games or other activities that one derives enjoyment from.
Of course all this sacrifice is not just for yourself. Oh no, aside from abstinence, Christians are also asked to do more almsgiving this Lenten season. Almsgiving is done by giving either food, clothes, shelter, or money to those who do not have it.
You are not obliged to do so, as that defeats the whole purpose of almsgiving, but you are invited to do so out of the goodness of your heart as another form of sacrifice. If you have something in abundance and you know that some people do not have it as much as you do, you are invited to give it to them for free as Jesus would have done.
The act of almsgiving is difficult given our current materialistic mindset, but that just makes it more urgent, for one of the lessons that Jesus taught was to let go of the hold your worldly possessions have over you and to follow in his footsteps. This is a lesson I think we all find extremely difficult to follow.
The True Meaning of Lent is Love
Even though Lent is a season of sacrifice, it is still not the true meaning of the season. In fact, the true meaning of Lent is love, for love is what is supposed to drive our desire to give alms and make sacrifices. After all, it is love that drove Jesus to be obedient to the Father, even unto death on a cross.