Testament of the Pope, Lent Saints
Posted on Mar 05, 2013 in News
The Pope officially released his seat on Feb. 28, 2013.
Lent is known as a time of renewal and devotion in the Christian faith. Lasting from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday, those participating are called to fast for 40 days in celebration of the center of their faith.
UAB Reverend Joe Dentici of Reformed University Fellowship relates Lent to a real life experience: “Just as I should celebrate my wife year-round, I celebrate her in a special way on her birthday and on our wedding anniversary. In a similar way, while Christians should always be aware of the brokenness in our lives, Lent offers a special time to focus on it.”
When giving up something for Lent, participants are called to be inconvenienced for their faith in order to grow closer to what they feel would have been closest to Christ’s experience accounted in the Bible as his 40 days of solitude in a desert.
There is no one thing people who participate in Lent relent. Commonly, a type of food or drink is the most popular answer. Many people give up sugar or caffeinated beverages for 40 days. While this is definitely a task that can be accomplished, there are many other options.
Fasting from social media helps provide for more free time in a participant’s daily life. Having a positive attitude or avoiding negativity allows for one to be generally more joyful about life. Another obscure option includes not listening to music while driving to use the time in the car as a time of prayer.
The Lent season has become a definite tradition especially within the Catholic Church. Sister Karen Ann Lortscher of the Saint Stephen Catholic Campus Center has participated since she was seven years old. Other denominations of the Christians faith emphasis Lent as a time of reflection and a tool to be used if one feels the need to.
With something that is considered as sacred as Lent, there are sure to be those who abuse the purpose of its intentions. Bobby Riggs of the Wesley Foundation feels that if people are using the season for a reason other than growing closer to God or maturing in their faith, then “they are missing the point.”
According to Sister Lortscher, there are three pillars of Lent that include prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (charity). She thinks that participants neglect to consider all three aspects and worry just on what they are giving up.
Sister Lortscher made the point that it is difficult to persevere through 40 days of prayer when there are so many outside distractions, of fasting when advertisers tell the world that they deserve what they have given up, and of almsgiving in a society that is focused on the self and not on others.
Within protestant denominations of the Christian faith, Lent is not a requirement. It is used primarily as a personal tool that is utilized at the participant’s discretion. However, the same cannot be said of the Catholic Church.
When a practicing Catholic reaches 14 years of age, they begin the requirement of participating in Lent. By this, they are not permitted to eat meat on Ash Wednesday and on every Friday of Lent.
When practicing Catholics are between the ages of 18 and 59, they are also required to fast from food on certain days. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, they are permitted to eat only one full meal. Along with this, they are allowed to eat food two other times, but they must add up to be less than one full meal.
While Christians anticipate the Easter season as a time of reflection and appreciation for their personal faith, this year has been a bit different for the Catholic Church and the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. He was considered a “great teaching pope” by CNN Senior Vatican Analyst, John Allen.
Although there is no pope to replace Benedict at the current moment, Federico Lombardi , a Vatican spokesperson let reporters know that “before Easter, [the Catholic Church] will have a new pope.”
While this was unexpected for the rest of the world, it is reported that the former pope has considered and mulled it over for months. His declining health and strength left him to feel that he was unable to dedicate the type of attention his duties that was necessary.
As the world waits for the news of who will take his place, there is no certainty of how the church will be affected. Even Sister Lortscher confirms that the church will be affected, yet “how it will be affected remains to be seen.”
As participants of Lent wait for Easter so that they can once again partake in the object of their fact, the world and the Catholic Church are also waiting to see who the next pope, and leader, will be.