One of the elements of my faith that I love the most is that all truth is considered part of the LDS gospel. It’s a concept I wrote about almost a year ago. Reviewing that post was a timely reminder for me as I begin my Lenten Season.
Ash Wednesday was yesterday and I again missed Mass due to work to my sadness. One year I am going to get to go.
I started observing Lent in an effort to increase the value of my Easter worship. Unlike Christmas, I feel like Easter has a habit of sneaking up on me. There is no long lead up and very little religious observance prior to Easter. There’s just the commercialism that appears a few weeks before and then suddenly: Easter Day. And then it is over.
Easter is the crowing event of all of human history. It is the fulfillment of the promises of Christmas and, for Mormons, of a premortal existence. It is the singular event from which we can draw hope for Eternal Lives and Salvation through Christ. Without Easter, the whole world would be utterly wasted.
And yet, in the Mormon world, in some Christian religions and in the secular world, Easter is a mere blip, one day and then gone. This is part of why I have fallen in love with Lent.
Lent extends Easter observance to over 40 days prior to Easter day. Catholics and some other reform sects of Christianity (Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans and Presbyterians in particular) fast for 40 days (the Sundays that fall during this period are excluded).
While some fast from meals (As I understand it, Catholic rules limit meals to only one full meal a day although snacks are allowed), many fast from something else, giving up a bad habit, something they enjoy or something that they feel keeps them from being closer to God. Others still don’t “give up” something but instead use this time to create a good habit. Many do some combination of the three.
Some consider this fasting period to be in similitude of Jesus Christ’s 40 day fast in the wilderness.
In considering what I want to fast from during Lent, I try to pick something that will be a challenge, but not impossible, that takes my current situation into account (for example, while I was pregnant I gave up something easier to sacrifice because I was already having a very difficult time being pregnant) and that will draw my mind to the Savior repeatedly – something that I will think about regularly-ish. It is so easy in my busy, go-always world to forget my covenants to “always remember Him.” Lent helps me do that better.
It’s become an important part of my Easter observation and has enriched and blessed my life. I try very hard to only add good things to my life. Lent is one of them.
I’d love to hear your Lent stories. What have you given up in the past? What are you fasting from this year? How has it enriched your life? Questions? Clarifications? Comment below!