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11-ASH-WEDNESDAY

Lent is part of the faith journey for young and old

This week’s editorial leader

And so Lent has begun. The period we have to prepare for Easter is traditionally longer than Advent, and here in Scotland we are fortunate in that we have many ways to ready ourselves during Lent for the death and Resurrection of our Lord at Easter.

This week the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) launched its annual Wee Box, Big Change campaign. The Catholic charity aims to use this year’s funds from the Wee Box to support families in Columbia and throughout the world. So when we give something up, the money saved can really make a difference through SCIAF’s work and the work of other Catholic charities.

In Glasgow Archdiocese, the AGAP Lentfest arts festival also got underway this week. Now in its eighth year, the festival offers the opportunity for Christians from Glasgow, Scotland and beyond to deepen their Lenten preparation, and ultimately their Faith, through the arts. Lentfest acts as a visible symbol of the presence of Faith in the archdiocese for all throughout Lent and, God willing, will help draw people to the Church through evangelisation.

A young person’s view of Easter remains among the more powerful expressions of what this period signifies.

A child giving up chocolate for Lent, for example, makes a sacrifice, often in the hope of a bounty of chocolate Easter eggs in the celebration of Jesus rising from the death. We too have entered a period of soul searching and, in many ways, mourning, but we know that after the great sadness of Christ dying for our sins, He rises from the dead and gives us the hope of eternal life in His Father’s house.

While giving something up to donate money to charity is part of our Catholic tradition, and using the arts to aid our spiritual preparation affords wonderful opportunities, as we dig deeper throughout Lent we can discover other ways to better live our Faith.

Giving up anger, hatred or regret, for example, may not line our pockets, or anyone else’s, but it can lighten our hearts and reopen them. How many of us know that bitterness towards, or a grudge against, a family member or friend is eating us away inside and acting as a barrier between us and God’s love? We may even blame God in part for what has happened in our relationships and for not stopping those who have let us down in our eyes.

It is easy to say that God has a plan for us, it is harder to have Faith in that plan. As children take part in Easter egg hunts next month, we too must hunt for the message God is sending us this Easter, and embrace its meaning. That is what Lent is for.

 

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