Hello brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray this bulletin article finds you off to a prayerful beginning of the Lenten season! Because Jesus promised to be with the Church always (Mt 28:20) and promised to guide the Church into all truth (Jn 16:13), we can trust that when it comes to faith and morals, the Church is the voice of Jesus. We are so blessed to have such a clear guide for life’s journey in the visible and audible presence of the Church, the body of Christ in this world! As we come to the first weekend of Lent, I thought it would be good for us to study up seven key terms from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that help us to revisit and delve more deeply into the gift of Lent. May we contemplate these terms, the realities they describe, and the love they point us too. Let us keep each other in prayer, that we’ll all have a fruitful and God Bless You!
Liturgy: In its original meaning, a “public work” or service done in the name of or on behalf of the people. Through the liturgy, Christ our High Priest continues the work of our redemption through the Church’s celebration of the Paschal Mystery by which he accomplished our salvation.
Liturgical Year: The celebration throughout the year of the mysteries of the Lord’s birth, life, death and Resurrection in such a way that the entire year becomes a “year of the Lord’s grace.” Thus the cycle of the liturgical year and the great feasts constitute the basic rhythm of the Christian’s life of prayer, with its focal point at Easter.
Lent: The liturgical season of forty days which begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with the celebration of the Paschal Mystery (Easter Triduum). Lent is the primary penitential season in the Church’s liturgical year, reflecting the forty days Jesus spent in the desert in fasting and prayer.
Prayer: The elevation of the mind and heart to God in praise of his glory; a petition made to God for some desired good, or in thanksgiving for a good received, or in intercession for others before God. Through prayer, the Christian experiences a communion with God through Christ in the Church.
Fasting: Refraining from food and drink as an expression of interior penance, in imitation of the fast of Jesus for forty days in the desert. Fasting is an ascetical practice recommended in Scripture and writings of the Church Fathers; it is sometimes prescribed by a precept of the Church, especially during the liturgical season of Lent.
Almsgiving: Money or goods given to the poor as an act of penance or fraternal charity. Almsgiving, together with prayer and fasting, are traditionally recommended to foster the state of interior penance.
Penance: Interior penance: a conversion of heart toward God and away from sin, which implies the intention to change one’s life because of hope in divine mercy. External acts of penance include fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.