How Love Enters Lent as we Prepare for His Love

Feb 27, 2024 | Blog

We are entering the most exciting time of year for our faith, the Lenten season. And no, it does not just culminate in the Easter bunny, chocolate candy and Easter eggs, regardless of how wonderful those things are. 

Just as a quick primer, Lent is a 40-day season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving (corresponding to the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness to fast, pray and endure the temptations of the Devil, all in preparation for his public ministry which would end in His death on the cross) that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes at sundown on Holy Thursday.  It is a time of preparation for celebrating the Lord’s resurrection at Easter.1

I call it the party to end all parties!  He has risen and we are saved.

During Lent, Catholics seek to grow closer to God by reading the Bible, giving to the poor and practicing self-discipline. Lent is also a time of repentance and forgiveness, as Catholics go to confession and receive God’s mercy. While Lent is observed by many friends within Christianity, Catholics have some practices for this season, such as abstaining from meat on Fridays and fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. And there is a reason for it. 

We show our love for God by giving up something that distracts us from Him, while spending the time praying to express our love, by listening to the word and asking for His forgiveness. For me personally, it gives me strength and warmth and makes me realize what is important and what is not. It is less about me and more about Him and others. 

Love is a central theme of Lent. It is a time to strengthen our faith, and love in God, who gave His life for us on the cross. Lent is a time to practice love for our neighbors, especially those in need or who are suffering. We follow the example of Jesus, who showed us the greatest love by laying down His life for us. Powerful stuff. God is love and love is God. How can we show love during Lent and honor God? Here are some simple ways:

Apologize to someone you have hurt or offended and seek forgiveness and reconciliation. This is a way of following Jesus’ teaching to make peace with your brother or sister before offering your gift to God. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Perform random acts of kindness to strangers. It could be as simple as paying for a cup of coffee or even just saying hello with a smile. This is a way of expressing your love for Jesus by loving others, as He commanded us to do (John 13:34-35)

Plunge into a book of the Bible that you want to learn more about. This is a way of growing your faith and love for God, who speaks to us through His word (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Serve people in need by volunteering at a local organization that helps the poor or sick. You can help by giving time, donations, money, clothing, or your expertise. This is a way of living out Jesus’ call to love the least of these, as if they were Him (Matthew 25:31-46)

Visit the lonely and offer them your company, friendship, and support. You can call, visit, write someone who is isolated, depressed, grieving or struggling. You can join a group that reaches out to people who need social contact, such as those in nursing homes or hospitals. This is a way of showing compassion and mercy, as Jesus did to those who suffered. (Luke4:18-19) These are just some examples of how you can show love during Lent while we celebrate His love. It is an exciting time of the year. Live it, share it and Love it.

 
1. Fitz, Gretchen, Lenten Season 101, Cathoiccompany.com/magazine/Lenten-season, Feb 25, 2017
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