According to the Gregorian calendar, the season of Lent began Wednesday.
Originating in the fourth century, the season of Lent spans 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday and climaxing during Holy Week with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and concluding on Holy Saturday the day before Easter, April 16 this year.
Originally, Lent was the time of preparation for those who were seeking to be baptized, a time of concentrated study and prayer before their baptism at the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ early on Easter Sunday. But since these new members were to be received into a living community of faith, the entire community was called to this preparation. Also, it was a time when those who had been separated from the church would prepare to rejoin the community.
Today, for many Christians Lent is marked by a time of reflection, prayer and preparation to celebrate Easter. Just as we must periodically make a visit to a doctor to maintain physical health, Lent gives us a wonderful opportunity to carefully examine ourselves spiritually.
Below are some suggested questions upon which to reflect and meditate during Lent for spiritual examinations:
Am I sharing gladly what I have with others, especially the sick and the poor?
Do I have a gracious and patient attitude with others, especially those who irritate and anger me?
Do I recognize the power of connection to God and the church in corporate worship?
How is my devotional and prayer life progressing? Am I carefully listening to God more and complaining less? Is it time for a change or a growth in my scripture study and prayer life?
What are the lurking sin problems, which still plague me?
Am I as thoughtful and forgiving of family as others, or do I take my frustrations out on them?
Do I speak up for the oppressed, or do I remain silent in order to remain popular?
Let us use this wonderful season to consciously reflect upon our spiritual wellbeing and nurture our spiritual resilience. May we experience the peace of God as we take on spiritual examination of ourselves.