The Challenge & Promise of Lent

In many ways, it feels as if last year’s Lenten season never ended, and here we are marking the beginning of another. Lent, 6 weeks of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, can often feel like we’re expected to participate in some kind of ‘spiritual boot-camp’ – which may hold less appeal than usual for those already struggling with pandemic fatigue. This is why it is so important for us to remember that Lent isn’t supposed to be about checking off a list of burdensome obligations, but a season of transformation that will free us from our burdens so as to live in God’s unconditional love.

[image: Living into Lent: Embracing the Journey by Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace]

Pope Francis’ homily for Ash Wednesday reminds us that:

“Lent is a journey that involves our whole life, our entire being. It is a time to reconsider the path we are taking, to find the route that leads us home and to rediscover our profound relationship with God, on whom everything depends. Lent is not just not about the little sacrifices we make, but about discerning where our hearts are directed. This is the core of Lent: asking where our hearts are directed. Let us ask: Where is my life’s navigation system taking me – towards God or towards myself?”

[You can read the entire homily here]

Our three Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are meant to aid us in evaluating the road we are on, and to help us ‘course correct’. After a year of living in our pandemic reality, many folks have been questioning and re-evaluating what is truly important in their lives. Depending on what each of us has experienced these past twelve months, we may be feeling a call to ‘do’ Lent in a big way, or we may feel the need to scale back on our usual practices and observances. The amount of things we give up, take on, or give away does not matter to God as long as what we offer is done with intention, to help us grow in faith and love of God, neighbour, and self.

40 Acts: Do Lent Generously

Our annual 40 acts challenge will be a little bit different this year in response to our current reality. Each day will offer us 2 different challenges: a Gift challenge for those feeling called to help others struggling to meet their basic needs; and a Presence challenge for those feeling called to be generous with their time and talents to re-orient their relationships with others and with God. Some of us may want to take on a gift challenge some days, and a presence challenge on others – it us up to each of us to discern which practice will aid us in our Lenten journey. You can find our calendar of challenges below:

For those who do choose to collect food and hygiene items for donation, collection boxes will be placed at each zone entrance of our school – students and staff are welcome to drop off items throughout Lent, but are also welcome to collect items at home and bring everything in at the end of Lent. All items collected will be donated to a local food bank.

Taylor, AndreaThe Challenge & Promise of Lent