The liturgy that opens the season of Lent has the Gospel proclaimed in which Our Lord Jesus speaks of almsgiving, prayer and fasting, which lead us to a path of conversion.
Our whole life becomes a spiritual sacrifice that we continually present to the Father, in union with the suffering and poor Jesus’ sacrifice; so that, through him, with him and in him, the Father may be praised and glorified in everything. For this reason, Lent is a biblical, pastoral, liturgical and existential journey for each Christian personally and for the Christian community in general, which begins with the ashes and ends with the night of light, the night of fire, the holy night of Easter of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
We will reflect on the direction of our spirituality until the Passover of Our Lord Jesus, that is, the new life that He has for us, the Lenten exercises of conversion. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday, which opens the Time of Lent, proclaims the Gospel in which Our Lord speaks of almsgiving, prayer and fasting, according to Matthew 6,1-8,16-18.
Lenten conversion exercises
Prayer: The prayer is the ultimate expression of our faith. We cannot think of it as something that comes only from us, because, when man begins to pray, the initiative is of God who reached, with His grace, the heart of that man. Our whole life should be a prayer, that is, a communication with the divine in us.
Fasting: Fasting is to abstain from a little food or drink, it is to establish the correct relationship between man and created nature. The attitude of freedom and respect towards food becomes a symbol of his freedom and respect for everything that surrounds him and can enslave him: material goods, qualities, opinions, ideas, people, attachments and so on. Fasting means making space in yourself.
Alms or charity: What does alms mean ? To give alms means to give for free, to give without interest in receiving back, without selfishness, without asking for a reward, but in an attitude of compassion. In this, man imitates God himself, in the mystery of creation, and imitates Jesus Christ, in the mystery of redemption.
Celebrating the Eucharist at the time of Lent means traveling with Christ on the journey of trial that belongs to the Church and to all people; it is more decisively to assume filial obedience to the Father, and the gift of self to the brothers who constitute the spiritual sacrifice. Thus, by renewing the commitments of our baptism, on Easter night, we will be able to “pass” into the new life of Jesus, the risen Lord for the glory of the Father in the unity of the Spirit.
.: Lent, time of fasting and penance
.: Beware of absurd penances in Lent
.: The origin of Lent
To celebrate this time well
- The Time of Lent, which is this time of conversion, extends from Ash Wednesday to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, including, this evening Mass begins, in the liturgical books, the Easter Triduum of Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord, which reaches its peak in the Easter Vigiland ends with the eve of Resurrection Sunday. The week before Easter takes the name of Holy Week. It starts with Palm Sunday.
- The Sundays of this conversion time are called the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sunday of Lent. The 6th Sunday takes the name “Domingo de Ramose da Paixão”. That day takes precedence over the feasts of the Lord and over any ceremony.
- The solemnities of Saint Joseph, the husband of Our Lady (March 19) and the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25), as well as other possible solemnities of the private calendars, anticipate their celebration for Saturday, if they coincide with those Sundays.
- The Ash Wednesday liturgy opens the season of Lent. The “Glory” and ” Credo” are not sung in this Mass.
- On Sundays of Lent, the hymn Gloria is not sung; however, there is always the Profession of Faith and I believe. After the second reading, Hallelujah is not sung; the verse, before the Gospel, is accompanied by an acclamation to Christ the Lord. Hallelujah is also omitted in the other corners of the Mass.
- The liturgical color of the Time of Lent is purple; for the 4th Sunday ( Laetare– Alegria) the use of pink is allowed. On Palm Sunday and Good Friday,the color of the liturgical garments and the celebrant is red, as it is the Passion of the Lord.
- Suggestion: in prayer, reap a personal penanceor mortification from God that you can live in this time of retreat. For example: leaving something you love to do or eat, talk less, reduce the noise around you, watch less television, be reconciled with people and situations, do a good conscience check and confess. On fasting days: offer to those who don’t have what you would eat and drink.