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Faith Focus: Lent

It is the time of year where Christians decide to fast from food, physical pleasures, or negative habits. Fellow Christians are excited about what others are planning to give up and ask each other, “Oh, what are you giving up this year?” Then, the conversation about Lent becomes stagnant, and it seems that many Christians forget the true purpose of Lent.

The Catholic Encyclopedia claims that the purpose of Lent is “to prepare men for the celebration of the death and Resurrection of Christ… [and] to provide that purification by weaning men from sin and selfishness through self-denial and prayer.” However, the item or habit that Christians plan to fast from often becomes the primary focus, instead of the reason why they are fasting from it. This causes Christians to concentrate so much time on trying to abstain from this object or habit that they spend less time preparing for Easter.

According to Beliefnet.com, “fasting… is one of the most powerful ways we have of becoming closer to God and finding true joy.” Therefore, fasting before Easter should help Christians have a stronger connection with Christ. This also resonates with the significance of Lent — to focus our understanding on Jesus’ suffering and to prepare ourselves for his death and resurrection. Fasting can be a difficult task at first, and it takes determination and faith to actually fulfill this forty-day commitment. Hopefully, the thought that a Christian will have a better understanding of Christ’s time in the wilderness will help him or her through the process. Also, discussing this process with fellow Christians is crucial and will encourage the entire body.

In order for Christians to enjoy Lent and observe it well they should try to readjust the way they perceive challenges. If Christians only sees Lent as a time of torment it is more likely that they will pick something easy to fast from. In contrast, Christians who frame Lent as a time will help their faith in the long run realize that fasting is a good choice, because it allows them to become more selfless and begin to focus more on God, on Christ’s incarnation. This Lent, the goals Christians should have include sharing their ideas of fasting to establish accountability from various Christians on their personal reasoning for Lent and to fast in order to devote themselves to prayer and to their relationship with Christ.

Sources: http://realtruth.org/articles/115-ttmol.html, http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/Lent/Ways-to-Fast-for-Lent.aspx#

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