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Lenten period begins

This week Christians commenced the Lenten period, a sacred religious tradition of reflection in preparation for Easter. While, in the Grenadian context this tradition is mainly practiced by Anglicans and Roman Catholics, if all Christians adopt the activities that mark this period, this can help us as individuals to “have a closer walk” with God, develop genuine compassion for mankind, be better citizens and realise steady personal growth.  

Wednesday (February 22) was Ash Wednesday, the start of the 2023 Lenten period and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday April 06, 2023.

During masses on Ash Wednesday, priests marked worshipers’ foreheads with ashes in the shape of a cross, which is a sign of repentance, humility and morality.

Lent is the solemn Christian religious observance commemorating the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert and enduring temptation by Satan, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, before beginning his public ministry.

It’s a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter. Preparation is done through prayer, mortifying the flesh, repenting sins, almsgiving (giving money or food to poor people), simple living and self-denial. These remind Christians of their dependence on God, Jesus’ sacrifice and his example of how to live; as well as the need to be kind to the less fortunate.

Consequently, during this period many Christians engage in fasting, to imitate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice during his journey into the desert for 40 days. This is to improve one’s spiritual well-being and draw closer to the Creator. Some Lent-observing Christians add a spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or pray more to draw nearer to God.

If these positive practices can be upheld for 40 days, why should an individual stop and return to his/her old ways from day 41? If one can deny oneself an unhealthy food or refrain from a negative habit, one should keep going, which can only augur well towards one’s overall physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Continue the simple living and self-denial.

In so doing, with a positive mindset one can eventually break negative habits; the regular indulgence in fast foods to healthier choices; rather than discarding unused or outgrown good clothing, give to the less fortune; instead of dumping leftover food, give to a poor family; rather than spending excess on wants, how about timely donations to charitable organisations or helping a poor family and consider if less time is spent on social media, there can be more time for prayer and devotion or volunteerism.

As Anglicans, Roman Catholics and other religious groupings worldwide engage in this period of reflection and self-denial, we challenge all to not only do it for this period but aim to continue, upkeeping the admonition of Micah 6:8 to “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”

We also challenge the rest of us, to adopt the positive Lenten practices as a way of live, for a better society.  

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