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Do you love Lent?
Do you love Lent? Or is it just a churchy way of giving up chocolate? Lent, the period of 40 days that precedes the celebration of Easter, has its origin in the early days of the Church. Converts seeking to become Christian, who at that time were mostly adults, spent several years in study and preparation. Under the threat of Roman persecution, becoming a Christian was serious business, and the rest of the Church began observing Lent in solidarity with these newest Christians. It became an opportunity for all Christians to recall and renew the commitment of their baptism in five main ways.
Preparing your heart, mind and body for Easter can involve fasting and abstinence (Wednesdays and Fridays at a minimum) Abstinence lowers the quality of food (usually by not eating meat) and fasting lowers the quantity, and usually means not more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and one half meal daily each fast day; praying seriously; making bible study regularly; corporate worship as a new priority, after all Jesus was explicit (Luke 22:19; 1Cor 11:24-25); The final step is to, as the prayer says, do all such good works as ... [God]...has prepared for us to walk in. There are fourteen works of mercywhich enable us to put our faith in Christ into action in our life. They are both spiritual/invisible and corporal/visible and are as follows:
the spiritual : (1) converting the sinner, (2) instructing the ignorant, (3) counselling the doubtful, (4) comforting the sorrowful, (5) bearing wrongs patiently, (6) forgiving injuries, (7) praying for the living and the dead.
And the corporal: (1) feeding the hungry, (2) giving drink to the thirsty, (3) clothing the naked, (4) harbouring the stranger, (5) visiting the sick, (6) ministering to prisoners, (7) burying the dead.
Today we know Lent as a season of conversion—turning back to God—and beginning on Ash Wednesday (1st March 9.15am and 7.30pm) we acknowledge we have turned away from God in our lives, and We focus on turning our hearts and minds back toward God. The three pillars of Lent sum up the five areas above—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—and observing them helps us turn away from whatever has distracted or derailed us and get us back to God.
WEEKLY AT ST JOHN'S