We have seen in a previous article that Lent is a ‘Slowing Down of Life,’ where and when We Observe, (Think, Reflect!) on Just How Our Life is going, And Take Steps to bring about Changes, going to the Extent of ‘U’ turns, if necessary.
The point is that generally Lent is associated with a (Liturgical) Season. This post will show that the Observance of Lent, Ideally, Should Not be Limited to a ‘Season.’
We know that Jesus said: “When you Fast, Do Not put on a Sad face as the Hypocrites do. They Neglect their Appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting.” (Matthew 6:16, TEV).
Fasting is Long associated with Lent.
Yet, Though the Jews had Seasons and Festivals, Jesus had Not been referring to a Pious or Religious Activity of a Particular Season. In that case, Everybody would have known that Everybody was Fasting! …Thus Jesus was remarking on an Activity Outside of Regular ‘Seasons.’
It follows that Pious Jews Fasted Out of Season too! Can We be Far Behind?
The Bible shows that Fasting and Penances had been undertaken much indeed during those times. David had done that — 2 Samuel 12:16-17; as had People in general, as seen in Nehemiah 9:1. We have references to Fasting in Psalms 35:13, 69:10, 109:24, etc.
In Daniel “Mourning for three weeks, Not Eating any Rich Food or Any Meat, Nor Drinking Wine, …and Not Even Combing his Hair (Wow!),” We have very good examples of Abstinences.
When the prophet Jonah finally preached in Nineveh, that Mega City, steeped in sin and debauchery it would seem, its King not only put on Sack Cloth and Sat on Ashes, but even Ordered that All his subjects Fast and do Penance as aids to a Change of life. (Jonah 3:6-9). [Note: The king passing these orders even on Infants and Animals should be taken as Hyperbole; or even as sacred Humour, in spite of the serious circumstances.]
Image courtesty: biblevisuals.org
We have seen that Lent is a Time of Putting Our Way of Life Right, aided by Fasting and Penances. As such, it is Wonderful.
- It is the Difference between Riding with Low Air in Your Cycle Tyres, and Riding it after getting the Tyres Filled.
- It is an Engine that had Long been in need of Servicing, and its Performance after the Overhaul.
- It is the Body that had gone Flabby due to Lack of Exercise and the difference We feel after having Exercised.
Photo courtesy: musclebomb.com
As such, Lent is a Time of Re-Freshening Ourselves, Refreshing Ourselves, Getting New Life and Energy. It is sad that some people look upon Lent as some kind of Bitter pill, to be Swallowed somehow; As something One has to Go through. My post, ‘What to give up for Lent,’ (As yet under preparation), speaks more on this.
Let us Remember that Lent is Not Merely Fasting or Giving Up things. The Whole Purpose of Lent is to Bring about Necessary Changes in One’s Life. And God has been Very Particular about the Right Way of Observing our Seasons of Fasting!
For some thoughts on The Right Way of Observing Lent, please click here.