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Observing Lent in challenging times



Observing Lent in challenging times

The Lenten season is here. As usual, the faithful are being called upon to observe it with reverence and faith in God.

In this year’s Lent, we are challenged primarily by rising inflation, poverty, insecurity, worsened by the raging coronavirus pandemic. But God is still the same and therein lies our hope. Lent is a time to seek him the more. It is a time of fasting, prayer and almsgiving driven by repentance.

Lent is a time of spiritual renewal, a special period in the church’s calendar, marking Christ’s preparation for his public ministry. Our symbolic ’40 days’ fast recalls the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, praying and communing with God his Father, before embarking on that work of redemption.

During Lent, we are encouraged to reflect on Christ’s suffering, crucifixion, resurrection and salvation of mankind. We are expected to renew ourselves spiritually and draw closer to God, always, but especially during Lent. The challenge is to become Godlike.

In fasting and praying, we mortify the body as we seek for the forgiveness of our sins. In abstinence, we deny ourselves of certain pleasures which again enables us to focus less on the body and more on the spirit. Sacrificial almsgiving enables us to share ourselves and our ‘bounty’ with the less privileged thereby identifying with Christ who gave his life for the sins of humanity.

Our society is riddled with hunger, poverty and disease. Let the love of the suffering Christ compel you to reach out, in a special way, to your neighbour, community and church in the spirit of Lent.

Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent reminds us of our mortality, that is why we are expected to fast, pray, abstain from food, drink, excessive pleasure and give alms to the poor and needy
Our country Nigeria is troubled by the forces of evil symbolized by Boko Haram, killer Fulani herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers and all sorts of corruption. Those who have acquired wealth illegally or stashed it away in the midst of mass poverty should use this period to make amend.

Do not lock up food “palliative” until you can trade it for votes during election. Give it out now! Deprive yourself of some pleasures and make sacrifices for the benefit of others.

Lent is a time to make it good with God. It is, indeed, a time to “loose the bond of wickedness, undo heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free. It is a time to give bread to the hungry, shelter to the homeless and clothe to the naked. More so, it is a time to come clean with God, and understand, that surely, as Ash Wednesday reminds, you are dust and unto dust shall you return.

Welcome to the Lenten season!

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