How to Celebrate Lent

Connie McKinney By Connie McKinney, 5th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2y-5hpte/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

Lent begins Wednesday, March 5 for Christians all over the world. Learn what you can do to make this season more meaningful instead of being fixated on what you should "give up for Lent."

Lent: A Special Time of Year

Lent is a time for prayer, fasting and works of charity. This special season leading up to Easter begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5. There's a lot that Christians can do to increase their faith during this time of year.
Unfortunately, too many people are obsessed with what to "give up for Lent." As Wikinut moderator Mark Gordon Brown said in a comment on another article about Lent which ran recently, too many people give up something "silly" such as ice cream. There's no meaning in that.
To see Mark's comment and read more about the spiritual meaning of Lent, please see this well-done article by my colleague, Jerry Walch.
As a cradle to grave Roman Catholic, I don't recall ever giving up anything for Lent. I do remember going to Stations of the Cross with my family and doing volunteer and charitable activities. Now that I'm an adult, I still continue these same activities every Lenten season.
Part of Lent is fasting. For example, Catholics cannot eat meat on Ash Wednesday and on every Friday during Lent. We also cannot snack on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and must limit ourselves to one full meal and two smaller meals on those days.
Some people fast more than this during Lent. And yes, some people do give up their daily cup of coffee, candy bar or gum. However, giving up something does not hold much meaning for most adults.

Praying During Lent


Lent should be about prayer. Many people simply increase the amount of time they spend praying at home. Other people choose to go to daily Mass. Some people will go to an extra Mass during the week
Another prayerful Lenten activity is the Stations of the Cross . Each of the 14 stations centers around one activity in Jesus's crucifixion. For example, one station is about Jesus being condemned to death, another is about him being scourged or whipped and another is about Veronica wiping his face and having Jesus leave the image of his face behind on her veil. There are readings and prayers connected to each station.
Attending the Stations of the Cross has a lot more meaning for us Christians than giving up candy bars. This is a chance to reflect on how awful the crucifixion was and how much Jesus suffered to save us.

Charity During Lent


We Christians sometimes forget about the charitable part of Lent. We are called to give alms to the poor - a fancy way of saying donate money or time to charitable causes.
For example, the younger members of our parish donate money through Catholic Relief Services' Rice Bowl Program. During Lent, children and their parents chip in extra money they would have spent for snacks or other food. Money is put into the rice bowl - which is actually a small, cardboard box similar to a Chinese food container. At the end of Lent, all money is donated to CRS, which fights hunger and poverty worldwide.
Other people step up the amount of money they contribute to charity or the amount of time they give to volunteer work. This is the time to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity, serve lunch at a soup kitchen or visit a lonely resident of a nursing home.
Praying more, volunteering more and giving more will help make Lent more meaningful. More lives will be touched for the better - much more than those which could be touched by simply giving up candy bars.


Attribution:
The photos came from Morguefile.
The ideas shared here came from my experiences as a lifelong Catholic who continues to practice Catholicism.

Tags

Lent, Lenten Prayer, Lenten Season, Religion, Religion And Spirituality, Religous

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
5th Mar 2014 (#)

very interesting Connie and the spirit that comes through is filled with loving..thank you..sharing

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author avatar Jerry Walch
6th Mar 2014 (#)

Nicely done Connie.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
6th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks so much, Jerry and Carolina.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
6th Mar 2014 (#)

...giving of self and time what a beautiful way to celebrate lent...great article thank you Connie

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author avatar Connie McKinney
6th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks so much, Delicia. Lent is a time to add things not give them up.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
6th Mar 2014 (#)

Lent is such a good time of reflection on our own walk with the Lord Connie , but mostly on the ultimate sacrifice and willingness for our Lord to keep going towards that cross for us ..
God bless you my friend
Stella ><

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author avatar Connie McKinney
7th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks, Stella, for your inspiring words. Well said.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
9th Mar 2014 (#)

We should never forget the real purpose and meaning of these religious practices. Thanks Connie for the highlight - siva

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author avatar Connie McKinney
9th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks so much for your kind and wise comment, Siva.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
10th Mar 2014 (#)

I saw the Mardi Gras decor up as soon as the Valentine's Day stuff came down. But now that I "observe" other people's observance of Lent instead of practicing it myself, it largely is out of my mind. But other people should know what it is and what goes on. I'm glad they heard it from you.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
10th Mar 2014 (#)

Niece piece and spiritual as you Connie!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
10th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks so much, Fern and Phyl.

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author avatar Kingwell
11th Mar 2014 (#)

As a child we were encouraged to give up something for Lent and put aside the little pocket money we would have. At the end of Lent it would be donated to charity. Thanks for a good post.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
11th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks so much, Kingwell.

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