The Season of Lent - Rend Your Hearts.

What is Lent?

Ash Wednesday begins the most important season of the church year, the “40 days of Lent" (not including Sundays). The word lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, or spring, meaning the time of year when the days begin to lengthen.

Lent means a great deal to me. Not just because of its significance as the preparation of Holy Week and Easter Sunday, but also because it is a chance to examine myself including my heart, motives, and life. 

What exactly is fasting?

Fasting isn’t just about denying the physical body of nourishment. It is so much more. Fasting is a sacrifice. And however we choose to prepare our hearts, whether it is through fasting, praying, or charity, Lent is an opportunity for spiritual transformation. That is what I love most about Lent.

Sister Joan Chittister said of Lent:

"Lent is a call to weep for what we could have been, and are not. Lent is the grace to grieve for what we should have done, and did not. Lent is not about penance. Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not. Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now. Lent is a summons to live anew."  
I’ll be the first one to admit Lent is challenging. But anything worth doing shouldn’t be easy. This is a time to examine your conscience.  To make sacrifices. Lent is a time to free yourself from other vices such as sloth, being judgmental and critical of others, and even apathy. It is a time to reconnect with those relationships you’ve let become stagnant and even possibly bridge those relationships that have ended. Lent is also a time to reach out to others in charity. 

Joel 2:12-13 says –
“'Yet even now', declared the Lord, 'return to me with fasting, weeping, and mourning. And rend your heart, and not your garments,' and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repent of the evil. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God."

I particularly love the way this is stated in the amplified bible.
“'Therefore also now,' says the Lord, 'turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning [until every hindrance is removed and the broken fellowship is restored].' And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil [when His conditions are met].”

What does it mean to "rend?"

To “rend” means to show an outward act. Such as the act of ripping or tearing your clothing. It means to tear, cut, split, rupture or sever. It can also mean to lacerate mentally and/or emotionally. However the outward act of rending your clothing doesn’t speak to what is in the heart. That is why I love the latter definition. People often “announce” what they’re fasting from or “giving up” for Lent. I personally think it should be kept secret in the heart. Do this for the right reasons. Not for public recognition. 

Friends, during this season of Lent, I pray that you are spiritually renewed. That you turn back to Him whose mercy is great, whose grace abounds, and whose love is immeasurable.

God bless you,



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