Forty Days of Lent

While Jesus was in the desert, the devil tempted Him. Jesus was hungry after forty days of fasting, so the devil told Him to turn stones into bread. Jesus refused, for He would not use His power for his own comfort.

The devil then offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if only He would worship him. Jesus refused, for He worshiped only the Father.

Finally, the devil asked Jesus to throw Himself down the walls of the temple to show that the Angels would protect Him. Jesus would not do this, for He would not put God to the test. 

Jesus then left the desert and began to call people to follow God’s way. The forty days in the desert had been a time for Jesus to reject the devil’s call and once again to choose God’s call.

Forty days also reminded people of the forty years that the people of Israel had spent in the desert after they had left their slavery in Egypt. This too was a time of preparation, as the people of Israel purified their hearts before they entered the Promised Land.

From the Book of “Celebrating Lent” by Rev Jude Winker, OFM Conv


we seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture


we practice self-control through fasting


we serve by giving alms


we allow others the opportunity to do charity through receive

Holy Scripture

There is one part of the liturgy that is more important during Lent. It is the part containing the Scripture readings that we use at Mass for the weekdays and for Sundays. They are all specially selected to tell the story of our Redemption.

The Old Testament readings tell us the story of how people were created by God but then turned to sin. In the days of Noah, God purified the earth by sending a great flood.

God then chose a people through Abraham. He guided and protected them even in the days of Joseph when there was a great famine. He saved His people from slavery in Egypt. He led them under Moses to the Promised Land. 

God sent Prophets to guide His people, but the people and the kings of Israel would not listen to them. During Lent, we hear the loving words of men like Isaih, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

The New Testament readings are also important, for we hear of how Jesus called His followers to be converted from their sins. An important part of our participation in Lent is to listen to these readings with great attention.


Another part of our Lenten preparation is fasting. From its earliest days, Lent was a time to give up certain things that people enjoy throughout the year. Long ago, the fasting was very serious. People would eat only one meal a day. From Ash Wednesday on they would eat no fish or meat. In some places, people would fast like this for five days a week, while in others they would fast every day except for Sunday.

Today we do not fast in the same way as they once did. One of the things that we do is eat no meat on any Friday during Lent. We can east fish or cheese or any other thing as long as it has no meat.

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday we also have special rules. Those who are over 18 years old and less than 59 years old and in good health are obliged to fast. They may eat one full meal and have two other smaller ones that together do not equal one full meal.

The reason that we fast is to remind us that God is more important than food. We also fast to share the pain of those who do not have enough to eat. 

Good Deeds

One of the other reason that we fast during Lent is that it gives us a chance to share our food with those who are hungry. We put aside the money we would have spent on food and we give it to those who do not have enough to eat. We respond to Jesus’s call to feed the hungry, visit the sick, and comfort those who are sad.

During Lent, we try to be more generous with our time and our love. We ask whether any things we have been doing are selfish, and we promise to change those things.

It is especially important to begin with our own family and friends. We should help our parents more around the house. We should not fight with our brothers or sisters. We should visit our grandparents or send them a letter. We should pay attention in school and not cause problems.

Whole we do all of this, we should not forget those who are farther away. We could collect food and blankets for a soup kitchen in our city. We could also pray for people we see suffering on the TV news.

A time of Prayer

We have talked about how we prepare for Easter by our Lenten readings at Mass, our fasting, and our acts of charity. There is one other thing that has been part of Lenten preparations from the earliest time. It is prayer. 

There are four reasons why we pray. In prayer we adore God, praising God for His greatness. 

In prayer we ask for things that we need. We depend on God for everything, an dour prayer can remind us of that. 

In prayer we give thanks to God for all the good things that He has given us. And finally, in prayer we ask for forgiveness of all our sins. 

All four of these types of prayer are important during Lent. We see the greatness of God in the fact that Jesus died for us; so we should praise God. As we fast, we remember that all of our food, and even everything we have, is really a gift from God. We should ask God for everything that we need and thank Him for everything that we have. Finally, as we have already seen, Lent is a time to turn from our sins; so we can use prayer to tell God that we are sorry.

The way of The cross

Another form of prayer that we use during Lent is to meditate on what Jesus did for us in His Passion and Death. It is important for us to hear the story of Jesus’ sufferings so that we can know how much He loves us.

One of the ways that we hear this story is by praying the Way of the Cross. In this prayer we remember fourteen different things that happened to Jesus on Good Friday. (These are called Stations.) We hear of how He was condemned to death, took His Cross, and fell under its weight three times. We hear of Him meeting His Mother, the women of Jerusalem, the kindly Veronica who wiped His face, and Simon who helped Him carry the Cross.

In the last Stations we hear of how He was nailed to the Cross and how He died. His body was then taken down from the Cross and buried. All of this tells us how much Jesus loved us.

During Lent we will also have the chance to think about the Cross of Jesus and to kiss it on Good Friday. It reminds us that every time we make the Sign of the Cross, we are remembering how Jesus died for us.


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