How to live Lent well and what attitudes we should have as Christians
The cancaonova.com gathered for you some tips of how to live the 40 days of Lent and how to choose a penance for that time. For this reason, we made a poll on Facebook so that Internet users could leave their doubts on this subject. And we invited Father Renan Félix to answer them.
What is Lent? And what is the best attitude that the Christian can have, during that time, so that, really, this period has meaning in his life?
Lent is that liturgical season that anticipates the entire period of Holy Week , of the Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, of the Paschal mystery. So, it is a great time that the Church gives us so that we can prepare our hearts, truly live Easter time .
Lent is a time of recollection so that we can review our life, review to what extent our Christian life corresponds to what Our Lord asks of us. It serves to analyze whether we are truly loving God over all things or whether other things are dominating our hearts. It is a time of general balance in our life, of stopping, silencing and reflecting. It is beautiful how the Liturgy leads us to this through the readings, the Masses of each day. The Liturgy leads us to have this experience of reviewing life, of making it a different life and being able to enter the Paschal time desiring a new life.
Do not eat meat or chocolate, do not drink soda and do not abuse cell phone messages. But what is all this worth?
It is worth placing God as the center of our life. I thought it was cool to talk about cell phone messages! How long have we spent on social media and how much time have we dedicated to God? Put this on the tip of the pencil and you will see who has gained more space in your life. So, if the time of Facebook and Watsapp has been longer than the time you pray, which addresses God, you will understand who is dominating your life.
Every time we put a brake on some reality, especially during Lent, it is to put God in a center. So, what we like to eat does not dominate us, what we watch does not dominate us, what we hear does not dominate us, because our love is all for God.
The Word of God says that where your treasure is, there is your heart. Unfortunately, many times, our treasures are buried in soil that is not the heart of God. So, Lent is that time. That is why it is worth dropping the chocolate, the soda, the messages, in order to have the experience of placing the Lord as the center in our life. Worth it! For this reason, we must put God back where He should be in our lives.
In Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2014, he talks about material, moral and spiritual misery. He ends by saying: “Let us not forget that true poverty hurts. Stripping would not be valid without this penitential dimension. I am suspicious of alms that don’t hurt or hurt.
In this Lent, how can we help people who are experiencing material, moral and spiritual misery? What would charity be like in these three areas?
It is to exercise charity with a person who is going the wrong way, it is to call on him to exercise a little bit of the truth, to advise him and show him that there is another reality. For example, if you know a friend from college who is walking a path of drinking, alcoholism , call him, spend your time with him in order to instruct him and perhaps try to get him out of this reality of moral misery.
It goes the same way. They are people who sometimes need a word, a consolation or advice. they are people who need to be heard, they need someone to sit and listen to them. It is a spiritual misery, that is, she needs someone to pray with her, to assume it in prayer . We can heal our brothers’ spiritual misery by giving them our life in prayer, sitting with them, praying for them.
Moral and spiritual misery are closely related to our time, to our life. But there is material misery, on which the Pope is insisting. How does the Church think about the practices of Lent: prayer, fasting, penance , charity and almsgiving? Prayer takes us to God when we launch ourselves at Him. When we review, in our life, everything that is in excess, there comes the need for fasting and penance. But if it stops only in our life, and does not overflow in the life of the brother, it is worthless. That’s where charity and alms come in.
The attunement is perfect, because we launch ourselves into God, evaluate our life and remake our relationship with God. We redo things, we redo our relationship with the brothers, with the charity that she can give in this sense; time, but also in a concrete material sense.
So, let’s take the example: I do a penance for not taking soda, I’ll take this one, which is a very simple one, throughout Lent, then you calculate, how much I spend per day with soda. Ah, I spend ten reais of soda a week, I transform that ten reais into alms for a family that needs it.
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This is the meaning of alms , what we fast and would spend something, we give to the poor. To meet, to make an assessment, to call other people. Your ten reais, plus another ten reais; why not make a basic food basket for a family that is starving? So, we have a very selfish custom: Ah okay, I will not drink soda, I will have money left. No, this money is not yours, but the other’s! That is why the Church has always proposed these three realities to us together. Because they cast us into others, they cast us into the reality of others. Now, a reality that is closed in my relationship with God and, in my life, an inner conversion and does not overflow in love for another.
Pope Francis talks a lot about the culture of the encounter, of going to meet the other. It will be a sterile Lent, without fertility, because it will be like a tripod with a broken foot, it will not stand. Now, if I review my relationship with God with prayer, I review my relationship with creatures, with things, with fasting and penance and I review my relationship with my brother with charity , then I put myself in a Concrete Lent. It may be someone that you need to forgive, that you need to forgive, that you need to meet. Someone you hesitated with and you need to ask for forgivenessfor this act you did. This is all a concrete way of living charity and meeting this moral, spiritual or real misery that people often encounter.