8th grader reflects on Michelangelo’s Pieta

Parade shooter charged
February 2, 2016
Gilbert Bergeron
February 3, 2016

We who live in Southern Louisiana know that whenever we celebrate Mardi Gras, Lent will surely follow. I would like to devote this article to anyone who would like to deepen their lives and draw closer to God and others. So let start off with the basic information about Lent.

What is Lent? Lent is a 40-day period leading up to Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday. (This year, Ash Wednesday is February 10.) Lent is known as a penitential season. That means it is an opportunity to examine your life, give your struggles to God, and invite the Almighty to help you become the-best-version-of-yourself.

In particular, there are three Biblical focal points – prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. All these spiritual exercises help prepare us for the celebration of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.

The day before Ash Wednesday is known as Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday). Since Lent is a season of fasting, Mardi Gras is a final day of feasting and merrymaking before the 40-day fast. On Ash Wednesday we mark ourselves with ashes to show God we want to change.

When is Holy Week in 2016? Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, which we celebrate this year on March 20. Holy Thursday, which begins the three-day-period known as the Easter Triduum, is March 24. Good Friday is March 25, and Easter is March 27.

What should I give up for Lent? Lent is the perfect time to form new life-giving habits and abandon old self-destructive habits. Nevertheless, most of us just give up chocolate, candy, smoking, alcohol, etc. Unfortunately, when Easter arrives, we realize we really have not grown spiritually since the beginning of Lent. Our spiritual life is pretty much the same.

Lent is not just about giving things up, like chocolate, etc. Lent is about doing something bold to become a better husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, friend, neighbor. What if this year you did more than just give up something during Lent? What if you did something life-changing? What if you became the person God wanted you to be?

Are you searching for a deeper sense of purpose? A clearer understanding of God’s plan for your life? What matters most and what matters least? Then it’s time to rediscover Jesus.

I would like to recommend a program called Best Lent Ever. It is built around encountering Jesus and yourself in a deeply personal way, and developing or nourishing a habit of daily prayer. Based on Matthew Kelly’s new bestseller Rediscover Jesus, the free email program leads to a Lent that will make a difference in your everyday life – it will help you become a better person.

Beginning Ash Wednesday and continuing through the 40 days of Lent, participants will receive daily inspirational emails with short videos from Matthew Kelly, a New York Times best-selling author. These brief, personal reflections will give you simple ways to bring Jesus into your everyday life.

Want to get the most out of your Best Lent Ever experience? Get a free copy of “Rediscover Jesus” by just pay the shipping. (It’s also available in Spanish.) Each day during the program you will receive a brief reflection based on one of the 40 chapters in “Rediscover Jesus.” With your own copy of the book, you can follow along.

This program is part of a group called Dynamic Catholic. However, the basic truths that they share apply to most Christians. The group is not trying to convert anyone. Their purpose is to help people deepen their faith life.

So, will it really be your best Lent ever? That is entirely up to you. Sign up today and commit to doing something life changing this Lent. Sign up at: http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/. •