Lent is the Lord’s to do as he wishes. We do not solely take up Lenten practices in order to achieve a certain effect; we enter this holy season with fervor and determination to fast, pray, repent, and give of ourselves because we love the Lord and because he has asked us to.
In more ways than one, Ash Wednesday — celebrated March 1 this year — leaves a mark.
It is a well-known point that St. John Paul II claimed in “Mulieris Dignitatem” that “the moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way.”
If Lent is an invitation to contemplate the suffering Christ, then it is also a time to contemplate the forgiving Christ, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” And in this Year of Mercy, it would do us well to remember that on the list of spiritual works of mercy, “to forgive offenses willingly,” is No. 5.
Lent is a time of conversion and a time to deepen one’s faith, demonstrating and sharing it through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, Pope Francis said.
A three-part series on the three basic pillars of Lent: almsgiving, fasting and prayer. In honor of the Year of Consecrated Life, each feature will include members of religious communities who are deeply living out these spiritual practices all year long.