“Lent is the autumn of the spiritual life during which we gather fruit to keep us going for the rest of the year. Enrich yourselves with these treasures, which nobody can take away from you and which cannot be destroyed.” – St. Francis De Sales
The countless years of the journey of the Catholics embody their faith to Jesus; a part of this journey is the annual Lenten season. The most sacred time of the year, it is the time to reminisce and commemorate the suffering, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus during his last days on Earth.
To uncover the essence of the Lenten season, let us tread the path to the cross.
Lenten is the season of fasting, atonement and spiritual growth. The sacrifices made during the Lenten season is to cleanse ourselves of the negativity and replacing them with the fruits as said by St. Francis De Sales to keep going and serving God for the rest of the year.
Lenten is like pruning plants. Pruning is the trimming or cutting away dead leaves or branches in which lead to an increase in the productivity of a plant. Lenten is like trimming away the negativity through sacrifices and atonement of sins to make way for a more productive and a better relationship with other people and God.
Lenten season starts with the Ash Wednesday wherein this is the time of the year when there are a lot of people with ash on their foreheads. The significance of Ash Wednesday is it serves as a symbolism for our repentance and the reality of man who came from dust and to dust they’ll return. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40-day fasting and repentance of sins representing Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness.
After the 40-day fasting is the Easter Triduum or the three days before Easter or the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. The Easter Triduum starts with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The Easter Triduum is important for the Catholics since it marks the sacrifices and death of Jesus.
The Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus and the night he was betrayed by his disciple Judas Iscariot. During the last supper, the 12 apostles received the Blessed Sacrament or the body and blood of Jesus in the form of bread and wine. During the Thursday mass, the priest wash the feet of the 12 representative apostles just like how Jesus washed the feet of the apostles before the Last Supper.
The Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, some Catholics join the procession as the Way of the Cross wherein there is a representative of Jesus Christ carrying a cross topped with the crown of thorns. During this day, Jesus was brought to Pontius Pilate and the people sentenced him to death by crucifixion. Some Catholics pray the Stations of the Cross or the 14 stations depicting Jesus’ sacrifice for the atonement of sins of the humanity.
The day after Jesus’ death and entombment, the Holy Saturday is a day of vigils. Vigils are done, praying and keeping watch for the reincarnation of Jesus. As the transition between the death and the reincarnation of Jesus, Holy Saturday is indeed full prayers awaiting Jesus’ return. Holy Saturday marks the end of the Lenten Season.
Easter Sunday follows the Holy Saturday. It is the day of celebration for the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. During this day, when Jesus’ followers came to his tomb early in the morning, they found the stone rolled away and the tomb is empty. Angels appeared and told them the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
The Lenten Season as well as the Easter Sunday is not celebrated as a holiday but is celebrated as a renewal and atonement of sins. Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins and should be celebrated whole heartedly and solemnly as a gratitude for His sacrifices.