The Season of Lent

The Season of Lent was initially conceived of as a time for the final instruction of catachumens before their Baptism at Easter; but it then evolved into a general period for Christians to consider their way of life and turn back (repent) to God. Later still it became a period of partial fasting although it must be admitted that this was adjusting the thought to the circumstance as all food would have been running short in Medieval Northern Europe by the middle of February.

In our own day, Lent has made an alliance with Weight Watchers and other commercial dietary organisations; it is seen as a time to give up chocolate and/or alcohol, primarily for aesthetic and health reasons. While such deprivation may be good in itself, the plenty in which we now live makes any notion of fasting rather nugatory; we would have to do something much more radical than give up chocolate and alcohol in order to fast to such an extent that it would be an intrinsic part of our Lenten observance.

But what is Lenten observance? Here are some ideas of which we will discuss the pros and cons:

  1. Read the Bible daily.  What is a good way to tackle this?
  2. Leave time for daily prayer.  How do we start.
  3. Tackle a serious ethical issue through study and prayer:
    1. The arms trade
    2. Agricultural practice
    3. Climate change
    4. The causes of war, perhaps the First World War or the current war in central Africa.
  4. Keep a journal of ethical and spiritual thoughts. What currently goes in and out of our minds without being pinned down and analysed?
  5. Take up volunteering to complete a given task, not necessarily for longer than Lent. Are there things which the Church needs to be done that we could help with?
  6. Visit more friends and more lonely people that we know.
  7. Consider the importance of Holy Week and Easter.
  8. Say less and listen more.

At the end, we will see whether we can add any more ideas to this list and I will sum up in the Parish magazine.

KC I/14