Lent is a time of preparation for the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church has established this time as a period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving so we can be spiritually ready to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.
This time of preparation lasts 40 days. The number 40 is used in the Bible many times as a time of preparation for something else that is to come: in the story of the flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7: 4-12); Moses was in the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 34:28); the people of Israel wondered in the desert for 40 years (Joshua 5:6) and Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his public ministry (Matthew 4: 1-2).
Lent and Engaged Couples
If you are engaged to be married, Lent is a great time of prayer and reflection and a time of preparation. If you are wondering if you can be married in the Catholic Church during lent, click here to access a great blog that explains that.
Since Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, it is also an invitation for you and your fiancé to prepare for the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony.
Preparation takes different forms: you can attend a retreat organized by your parish or your diocese, you can attend marriage preparation classes either as a group or one on one with a sponsor couple, and you can also attend online marriage preparation classes here. All these forms of marriage preparation are accepted by the church and are available to you.
Lent and Married Couples
If you recently got married in the Catholic Church and you are starting to build your own family and your own family traditions, Lent is a great time to establish some practices that are spiritually important for both of you.
Start by telling each other how each of your families of origin prepared for Easter during this time of Lent.
Did you attend reconciliation as a family? Did you practice fasting and almsgiving in a special way? Once you have shared all these stories with each other, establish your own Lenten practices.
What do you want to do during Lent now that you are married? Make sure to include time for prayer, both as a couple and individually, fasting and almsgiving.
Lent and Families
Lent gives families an opportunity to come together for prayer and to reflect on the things we want to change. It is important to highlight the aspects of forgiving, reconciliation, and accepting one another in the family. Family prayer before meals is a special time to be thankful for what we have and to ask God to help us be aware of those around us who are less fortunate. Nighttime prayers are also a good moment to stop and reflect on what we did wrong and who did we offend during the day.
Practicing the corporal works of mercy as a family is also a good Lenten practice, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etc., are all activities that the whole family can practice.
Lent is an invitation to all of us to change our ways (convert) and start a new life with the Risen Lord in the Resurrection at Easter. Let us make good use of these 40 days and really make a change in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Many blessings on this Lenten Season