Lent is a word that derives from the Latin word "quadragesima" which in turn means "forty". Refers to the forty days before Passover.
The Lent is a period recognized by the Catholic Church and by some evangelical churches, dedicated to spiritual recollection accompanied, if possible, by the practice of penance and sacrifices, during the forty days preceding the day recognized as the day of the resurrection of Jesus or Easter Day. It begins on Ash Wednesday. Catholics are called upon to dedicate these forty days to meditation and reflection on the divine teachings, accompanied by repentance of sins, making also fasting and act with even greater moral restraint than at other times of the year.
Although it is said that this liturgical period is remembered since the early days of Christianity, there are those who claim that it was actually instituted in the seventh century as a reminder and imitation of Jesus' fasting during his forty-day stay in the desert, in perennial communication with God. Father and isolated from human beings.
Meaning of Lent
It is a time dedicated to the imitation of the activities carried out by Jesus in the days preceding his passion, crucifixion and death, in order to relive in every Catholic the sufferings he endured and to share them spiritually (Philippians 3: 10).
For Catholic Christians during the Lenten season should be willing to remember and commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, leading a life filled with health and exempt from sinful situations; on the contrary, it should be a time in which reflection, purification and spiritual conversion prevail, trying to achieve some resemblance to the life of Jesus in the desert.
In itself, the stage of Lent means the preparation to relive the martyrdoms and sacrifices of the martyrs and sacrifices that Jesus suffered during his last days of his earthly life, including material deprivations such as undergoing a fasting He also made spiritual efforts, such as facing strong temptations from the devil, before which he had to implore and ask God the Father for help in order to overcome them.
Recommendations to relive Lent with true devotion
As a fundamental procedure, during Lent an important role should be given to Prayerto communicate continuously and directly with God in his three different Persons. Since this time is dedicated to imitate Jesus, it should be kept in mind that the fundamental objective of Jesus in leaving the desert was to isolate himself from all distractions and to be able to dedicate himself to speak with his Father to thank Him for all that He did for his person, for having chosen him to be the Savior of Humanity, glorifying God the Father in this way.
At the same time, knowing the sufferings that were about to befall Him in His last days as God the Man, He prayed that the Father would help Him to endure them and asking for mercy for Him and for mankind. So the main thing in Lent is Prayer.
It is recommended to arrive at lto Lent with true and divine devotionpreparing to obtain God's mercy by exercising the well-known spiritual works of mercy, such as the following: sorry to give comfort to those who need it, to be patient with the faults of others, to console those who need it, to correct those who are in error, to teach those who do not know, and to pray to God for the living and the dead.
Other activities recommended and practiced by Catholics, such as fasting and penitence, nowadays have a certain effectiveness, since its meaning and the way of practicing them has undergone modifications in the eagerness to adapt to modernity, which have made them less effective.
Should Evangelicals celebrate Lent?
The majority of evangelical religious currents do not celebrate the LentThey argue various reasons for this, all of which are based on the fact that it is incorrect to think that human beings can earn merit before God, believing that God can reward according to the abnegation of each person. The defenders of this position maintain that God's blessing is the result of the divine gracewhich is neither an obligation nor a payment for good human actions.
This is based on John 15: 16which says that it is not man who chose God, but God who chose men to bear spiritual fruit that will remain in time. This is interpreted to mean that it may be necessary to be self-denying in order to obtain and bear fruit, but that it is not possible to obtain and deliver fruit by self-denial.
Another reason for not being celebrated by evangelicals is that it has become a mechanical commemoration, proceeding to do what the hierarchy orders to be done, without any personal conviction to do so, becoming a kind of farce.
They also express that it is a time that has become, with the passing of time, a time of recreation and rest, where the debauchery typical of the carnival time that precedes Lent becomes present.
Lnvangelicals maintain that if penance, sacrifice and abnegation are necessary, it is necessary to that it is recommended to do during Lent in order to draw closer to God, it is advisable to practice these behaviors throughout the year and not only for forty days.
Taking into consideration these arguments, and others not mentioned here, it is understandable that most evangelical churches have the firm position of not celebrating Lent.
Celebration of Lent by some Evangelicals
Before the diversity and plurality that exists in the community of evangelicals, some groups of them carry out some activities in remembrance of the last days of Jesus on Earth, doing it mostly to keep present in the new generations the experiences of Jesus Christ and not as acts of spirituality to get closer to God, as Catholics wish to do.
With the firm conviction that they have that Jesus died but also rose again, they base their faith on a living Jesus. Therefore, they base their memories on a living Jesus, suffering and dying on a cross and highlighting the resurrection. All this is evoked with theatrical representations and joyful songs motivated by the resurrection of Jesus.