It is at this point of the year, after a series of days without holidays, we circle back to springtime and Christians celebrate Lent and Easter.
People talk about Lent but what is it and why do people celebrate it?
According to the United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops, Lent is a “40 day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday.”
It is seen as a preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter.
In a time where many religions are under fire for controversy such as radical interpretations of scriptures, I stand for practicing your religion.
For me, participating in Lent is a matter of tradition and the history of my people. Coming from a primarily Mexican family, we all maintain our commitment to Catholicism. It is practiced from the elders in our family to the children of the minimum age of 13 who can participate in Lent.
Every year I see my grandparents do it and I choose to follow because it is something we share together and experience as a family. Like many religions and holidays, Lent can bring people together.
Those who participate have to give up something for Lent because it is a form of fasting. People pick things like alcohol or social media, parts of their lives that have become a distraction or derailed them, and give them up to turn back to God.
A memorable moment I have within my participation in Lent was last year when my whole family went to Mexico. We had all gathered at my uncle’s house for a barbecue and had prepared carne asada, shrimp, and pork belly.
While everyone was enjoying their carne asada and ribs out of the corner of my eye I could see my grandmother passing on all the meat that was forbidden to eat for her in the spirit of Lent.
She remained there with her plate of fruit and waited for the fish to be cooked to be able to eat. It was this event that made me want to participate along with her.
One of the most important parts of Lent is that we can also use it to feel closer to our family and embrace the traditions of our ancestors. Through Lent, I felt proud to have found a form of spirituality and the strength to commit to this.
I think that’s another main part of Lent, it can be done to empower you and make a positive effect on your well-being.
This is why Lent is so important to me and why I’m an advocate for people who are practicing Catholics to at least try and participate and make their commitment to getting closer to God and their families as well.