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What is the Lenten Season, and why is it significant for Catholics?

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Shillong, Feb 14: As Catholics in the State of Meghalaya and worldwide observe Holy Lent from Ash Wednesday onwards, have you ever wondered about its significance, particularly for Catholics? Do you seek to comprehend Lent’s connection to Easter?

Lent is a season where catholics ponder their time and prayers with God and sacrificial life of God’s beloved son who died on the cross for the sins of mankind.

Lent spans 40 days, excluding Sundays, from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday preceding Easter. It’s often depicted as a period of preparation and a chance to deepen one’s relationship with God. This entails personal introspection to ready hearts and minds for Good Friday and Easter.

What Are the Key Dates During Lent?
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, recognizable by the smudged cross of ashes on foreheads—a symbol of remorse for our transgressions and the consequent separation of flawed individuals from a perfect God. “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Job 42:5-6

Maundy Thursday, preceding Good Friday, commemorates the Last Supper, where Jesus shared the Passover meal with His 12 disciples. This day also reminds us of how one of his apostle, Judas Iscariot, deceived him for 80gold coins which serves as a symbol of him being the Holy God and have already know what was gonna happen to him.

Good Friday is a day of remembrance for Jesus’ sacrifice, offering forgiveness for our sins. The “Good” reflects how Jesus’ death was a sacrifice on our behalf so we can receive God’s forgiveness for our wrongs, or sins.

Followed by, Easter on Sunday, Catholicsand Christians in general celebrates Jesus’ resurrection, granting eternal life and the opportunity for a renewed relationship with God.

What Happens During Lent and Why?
The three main things people focus on during Lent are prayer, fasting (abstaining from something to reduce distractions and focus more on God) and giving, or charity.

Prayer during Lent focuses on our need for God’s forgiveness. It’s also about repenting (turning away from our sins) and receiving God’s mercy and love.

Fasting, or giving something up, is a very common practice during Lent. The idea is that giving up something that’s a regular part of life, like eating dessert or scrolling through Facebook, can be a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice. That time can also be replaced with more time connecting with God.

Acts of Charity or doing something good for others is a way to respond to God’s grace, generosity and love. For example, some people spend time volunteering or donate money they would normally use to buy something, like their morning coffee.

These actions don’t earn or merit Jesus’ sacrifice or a relationship with God; rather, they make Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection more meaningful by engaging in prayer, fasting, and giving during Lent.

Jesus sacrificed Himself on Good Friday to bear the punishment for all our wrongdoings and offer us forgiveness. He resurrected from the dead on Easter Sunday to give us an opportunity to have a renewed relationship with God for eternity.

Spending time during Lent praying, fasting and giving can make Jesus’ sacrifice on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter even more meaningful.

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