Lent: The Need For Sacrifice
MAN is made up of spirit, soul and body. Each day we nourish our body with food, water and other nutrients. Without food and water, the body gets ill, mal-nourished and eventually dies. And because we don’t want to die, we invest so much on food and other nourishments, making sure that we remain strong and healthy. That is good. But beyond the upkeep of our mortal body lies the need to also take care of our spirit, that part that links us to our Creator.
The Lenten season, which commenced last Wednesday, provides us with another ample opportunity to nourish our spirit and soul. Ideally, we should not wait until we get to a particular period or season before we nourish our soul. It should be done on regular basis. But because we are often pre-occupied with the mundane things of life, we tend to forsake our spiritual size. That is why the Church, in its wisdom, has set aside this 40-day period to encourage us to draw nearer to our spiritual link.
Last Wednesday, millions of Christians went to their churches to receive the mark of ash on their foreheads. The ash is meant to remind us of the transient nature of the world and as humans, we came from the dust and would one day return to it.
Lent is a season of solemnity and sacrifice, commemorating Jesus’ exodus into the wilderness. It is a Christian tradition that is observed in many denominations. It is the hallowed 40-day period of sacrifice leading up to Jesus’ death and Resurrection. During Lent, Catholics and some Protestants prepare for Holy Week by fasting, praying, and reconciling with the Lord. During the Lenten season, we are expected to make sacrifices as children of God and followers of Christ. The sacrifices should remind us of the one made by Jesus through which He saved us from sin and won for us salvation of our souls. The sacrifices do not have to be something extraordinary. It may mean cutting down on our excesses on a daily basis and allowing the grace of God to reign in our lives. If, for instance, you are in the habit of eating three square meals, you may need to cut it down to twice and give the third ration to someone that does not have to eat. If you are in the habit of taking much alcohol, you may just do without it during this period.
Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.
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