The meaning of Lent

As a Catholic school in the tradition of Edmund Rice, CBC Fremantle is a community that celebrates the love and principles of Jesus Christ, and the period of Lent is one of the most important events in the Church's liturgical calendar.

Lasting from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, Lent is a beautiful time of renewal and rebirth; a God-given opportunity to reconnect with our own authenticity and spirituality. Lent reminds us that Jesus' ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us can motivate us to be better people, to have more compassion, to look beyond material things and to place more emphasis on loving relationships and making the world a better place.

As I explained to our boys at our Ash Wednesday Liturgy, the period of Lent allows us to focus on four areas:

  • Prayer – time to talk and communicate with God
  • Penance and the repentance of sins
  • Almsgiving and charity
  • Self-denial – giving up something for Lent.

Prayer

Lent is a time to strengthen our connection with God through prayer. Take time to talk and communicate with God, remembering that our own personal conversations with the divine are our own.

American author, sometimes controversial political activist and always faithful Christian Anne Lamott talks about this deeply personal communication as a constant in her life. She describes how one of her friends uses the daily prayer, "Help me" every morning, and finishes her day with "Thank you." It is succinct, with an admirable economy of words that feels like a little post-it note prayer and a wonderful way to bring a daily communion into our lives, but Lent is a time for us to delve a little deeper and to regenerate our connection with God.

By doing this, by fortifying our relationship, by allowing the grace of God to flow through us, we can perhaps live with the fly-by conversations, the 'help me' and 'thank you' during our busy daily lives at other times.

Penance and self-denial

Lent is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. During Lent, we seek to atone for our sins through penance and the repentance of our sins. We can commit to fasting and avoiding certain luxuries to symbolise the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan and coming to terms with His divine fate.

Parents can be excellent role models of self-denial and sacrifice in the home, perhaps promoting digital technology fasting or going without sweets. Prompting conversations about Lent could result in life-changing habits and family traditions, and don't forget the power of a simple prayer before the evening meal to foster family unity during the challenge.

Almsgiving

Arising from the deeper connection to God and the atonement we can engage in to place greater emphasis on our reflection on the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, during Lent we seek to put others first through charity and service.

At CBC, students live out the College's motto Palma Virtuti -- goodness is its own reward – by engaging in Project Compassion and committing to giving a portion of their pocket money to Caritas Australia to continue their global mission to help people in need. This incredible organisation quietly provides invaluable assistance in all sorts of places of desperate need around the world, like earth-bound angels of compassion.

Charity can also take on small acts of kindness and simple gestures of goodwill on a daily basis that remind us of the teachings of Jesus Christ and that love is the enduring message of His legacy.

After Lent

Lent culminates in Holy Week and Good Friday, which commemorate the trial and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Easter Sunday ends the period of Lent, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and filling us with hope that His ultimate sacrifice is not in vain. We can be filled with hope and light that our own service, our own sacrifices and our own conversation with God can sustain us as we continue on our journey and help us to love one another without reservation.

May God bless you during Lent and forever.

Neil Alweyn
Vice Principal