Lent and the Word of God The time of Lent is 40 days, in imitation of Jesus' 40 days in the desert (Matt. 4:2), Moses 40 days on Mt. Sinai (Exod. 34:28), Elijah's 40 day fast on his journey to Mr. Horeb (1 Kgs. 19:8) and the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert. It is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, which ties in with penance and the forgiveness of sins. The theme for Lent is 'The Word of God' as spoken in the Bible. It is here that God reveals his plan and Jesus Christ's place in this plan. Basically, the Bible consists of two parts called Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT) which together form a single story of how God's plan unfolded. We see in the OT how God formed a community, Israel, binding it to himself by a series of Covenants. A Covenant is an agreement saying "I'll do this if you do that". Israel often failed to live up to it, but God was always faithful and kept inviting a renewal of the Covenant, and it gradually evolved through the OT (the 'Old Covenant') and gave way to the Covenant of Jesus (the 'New Covenant'). As Christians today, we can look back at the Hebrews of the Exodus and the Exile and see a continuity in our story. And the key to the whole story is Christ. All that God wanted to say, He said in the person of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, we journey through Lent guided by the Word of God whom we will experience in the fullness of our tradition that climaxes in Christ as the Risen Lord at Easter.
Lent: Note how it is a privileged time for Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.
Prayer is an opportunity to grow in our relationship with God, speaking with your Father in heaven. Fasting is denying yourself a basic human need, such as food for a period of time, disciplinary action. Almsgiving: giving the less privileged, especially through discipline of fasting or from one’s surplus. Abstinence is abstaining from something, especially giving up one of your favourite things for Lent.>>>
by Pope Francis
"You may have defects, be anxious and sometimes live irritated, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can prevent it from going into decadence. There are many that need you, admire you and love you.
I would like to remind you that being happy is not having a sky without storms, or roads without accidents, or work without fatigue, or relationships without disappointments.
Being happy is finding strength in forgiveness, hope in one’s battles, security at the stage of fear, love in disagreements.
Being happy is not only to treasure the smile, but that you also reflect on the sadness.
It is not just commemorating the event, but also learning lessons in failures.
It is not just having joy with the applause, but also having joy in anonymity.
Being happy is to recognize that it is worthwhile to live, despite all the challenges, misunderstandings of crises.
Being happy is not inevitable fate, but a victory for those who can travel towards it with your own being.
Being happy is to stop being a victim of problems but become an actor in history itself.
It is not only to cross the deserts outside of ourselves, but still more, to be able to find an oasis in the recesses of our soul.
It is to thank God every morning for the miracle of life.
Being happy is not being afraid of one's feelings. It is to know how to talk about ourselves. It is to bear with courage when hearing a "no".
It is to have the security to receive criticism, even if is unfair.
It is to kiss the children, pamper the parents, have poetic moments with friends, even if they have hurt us.
Being happy means allowing the free, happy and simple child inside each of us to live; having the maturity to say, "I was wrong"; having the audacity to say, "forgive me".
It is to have sensitivity in expressing, "I need you"; to have the ability of saying, "I love you."
So that your life becomes a garden full of opportunities for being happy...
In your spring-time, may you become a lover of joy. In your winter, may you become a friend of wisdom.
And when you go wrong along the way, you start all over again. Thus you will be more passionate about life.
And you will find that happiness is not about having a perfect life but about using tears to water tolerance, losses to refine patience, failures to carve serenity, pain to lapidate pleasure, obstacles to open the windows of intelligence.
Never give up .... Never give up on the people you love. Never give up from being happy because life is an incredible show.
And you are a special human being!"
- Pope Francis -