Fat Tuesday is over and most of us got the day off on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
As a Christian-based country, we all know that Lent is a time of reflection.
It’s the 40 weekdays beginning on Ash Wednesday and climaxing during Holy Week with Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Good Friday and concluding the Saturday before Easter Sunday.
The Sundays in Lent are not counted because they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
The number 40 is significant because that is the number of days Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for his ministry by facing the temptations that could lead him to abandon his mission and calling.
Christians – not just Catholics – use this period of time for introspection, self examination and repentance.
During these 40 days we are invited to join Jesus in the wilderness, where he faced down the devil. Likewise we are asked to grapple with the devil-with life’s temptations and all that which compromises our ability to be good Christians. Unlike Jesus, we need to return to the desert every year.
The Lenten sacrifice should be seen not as a deprivation but as a gift; an opportunity to purify ourselves.
Those of us who grew up in Christian homes are well versed in the tradition of giving something up for Lent.
So we have some ideas for our fellow countrymen and women during this season.
This Lenten season let’s give up vicious words against our neighbours.
Put aside petty differences and learn how to get along.
Give up the habit of gossip; it usually does more harm than good.
Get rid of the seven deadly sins – pride, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, avarice and sloth. These have so much become the motors driving our consumerist lifestyle. They are deadly sins, because they destroy the soul. Cultivate the opposite virtues instead: humility, forbearance, contentment, love, moderation, generosity and industry.
And that means you can add things to your life during Lent.
Reconcile yourself to someone you don’t like, or even hate or did something bad to, or just intentionally stayed away from.
Do acts of kindness for people, just because they’re there.
Even if you’re not a practicing Christian, take this Lenten season to reflect on your life and how you interact with everyone you come into contact with.
What you practice during Lent may just stick and make you a better and more loveable person.