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Lenten: What is it?

Lent is a period of spiritual reflection and self-discipline observed by Christians in the period of 40 days leading up to Easter. It is a time to remember and contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who fasted and prayed for 40 days in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry. Lent is observed by many Christians around the world, and it is a time for introspection, repentance, and spiritual renewal.

During Lent, Christians are encouraged to give up certain luxuries or habits as a form of self-discipline and to draw closer to God. This could mean giving up certain foods, alcohol, social media, or other activities that distract from spiritual growth. The act of sacrifice is a reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and encourages us to prioritise our spiritual life.

In addition to giving up something, many Christians also take on additional spiritual practices during Lent. This could mean attending daily Mass, spending more time in prayer or meditation, or participating in charitable works. Lent is a time for spiritual growth, and these practices help to deepen our relationship with God and with others.

One of the most recognisable symbols of Lent is the ashes that are distributed on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season. The ashes are a reminder of our mortality and the need for repentance. The traditional phrase spoken during the imposition of ashes is "Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return."

The Lenten season culminates in Holy Week, which includes Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. During Holy Week, Christians remember the events leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, while Holy Thursday remembers the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. Good Friday marks Jesus' crucifixion, and Easter Sunday celebrates his resurrection.

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