Lent begins after Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. It is within these days that people devote themselves to the Lord in prayer, reading sacred scriptures, and fasting. Many people know the tradition about abstaining meat on Wednesdays and Fridays, but it is also about self discipline throughout this season.


Why put Ash on our foreheads? The ash is applied to our foreheads in the sign of a cross as a sign of repentance. The ashes from Ash Wednesday are usually blessed palms from the previous Palm Sunday. The ashes are sprinkled with holy water and incensed before being applied to our foreheads for the remainder of the day as a reminder of their mortality and as witnesses before those as a follower of Jesus Christ.


Why 40 Days? The forty days of Lent is preceded by three biblical accounts. Lent lasts 40 days because Moses had stayed on the mountains for 40 days and Elijah had traveled for  forty days to Horeb to encounter the Lord. Jesus Christ had spent forty days praying and fasting in the wilderness. We participate in abstinence, fastings, and confessions to strengthen our faith and devotional disciplines.


Giving something up. For most older catholics Lent brings to giving something up mind. My family always gives up what is not good for us such as soda, chocolate, chips and junk food altogether. We try to give up something and at the end of the week our parents ask each of us how our promise that we made was going. We would all answer something different about how we would struggle in the beginning and if we were tempted during school or on the weekends. In our minds though we are just repeating is it Easter yet? Lent is about conversion, turning our lives more completely to Christ and His way of life. It isn’t only about abstaining from sin during this season but also turning away from sin for the rest of lives. Conversion means leaving behind an old way of life and acting in order to live and embrace a life with Christ.


Lent is not only a time to make yourself better physically but spiritually as well. It is a time for people to grow closer to our saviour Jesus Christ. As we near Palm Sunday, we receive palms in memory of Christs triumphal entry in Jerusalem. The palms point toward Christ’ resurrection. The palm is also a symbol against death through the waters of Baptism. This season is about converting old ways into a better way of life.