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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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Home : Faith/Spirituality : The Question Box
3/16/2016 12:16:00 PM
The very word 'Lent' calls us to new growth

Deacon Owen Cummings

Q — Why is Lent called Lent?  

A — The actual word “Lent” is related to an old English word that means something like “to grow.” Just as the world of nature is experiencing new growth, new life in the springtime, so the church seizes the opportunity to invite and to encourage new growth, new life in the Body of Christ, the church. Lent, then, is a time for growth. If I am to grow spiritually and morally during this holy season, then I must take stock of my actual Christian living at this time. So the church invites us to look at our lives “in Christ,” and to recognize and identify those areas in that life that demand more careful attention, so that new growth spurts may be possible. A passage from theologian, Martin Connell, might be helpful in this regard. “The disciplines of Lent are to help humanity attend to God, not God attend to humanity. God is not changed by human disciplines, not made happy or sad by how assiduously Christians attend to Lenten disciplines…The resolutions  are often not met with success, yet the celebration of the Three Days stands because the presence and love of God are more enduring and dependable than human efforts and activities in the Forty Days and ever.” (Martin Connell, Eternity Today, On the Liturgical Year, volume 2 (New York and London: Continuum International Publishing, 2006), 85). Connell reminds us that Lent is about helping us to grow spiritually, even when our Lenten resolutions are not especially successful.

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