It is a time of reflection and prayer. Lent prepares the Christian for the yearly commemoration of Christ’s Death and Resurrection. It is usually marked with the sealing of ashes in the sign of the cross on the forehead of a person. At time the person receives ashes, the person is told that from “Ashes you came to ashes you return.” Mardi Gras is the celebration that precedes Ash Wednesday and is usually culminated with Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday as it is referred to in New Orleans. It is the day before Ash Wednesday. Lent begins next week for Eastern rite Christians and Ash Wednesday for Latin Rite Christians. There is self sacrifice and the giving up of something that you enjoy and love. It is also marked by dietary demands as well. Fasting on Fridays and alms-giving are hallmarks of the season as well.
Unfortunately, many Christians face lent with a sense of dread. It shouldn’t be looked at as a time of depression and deprivation. It should be time in which you reflect on how you can better your choices and strengthen your prayer life. Christ’s forty-day retreat in the desert and his success in resisting the devil’s temptation to wealth, power, and glory should inspire you to do better. You can do it in small ways.