The Spiritual Meaning of Lent
“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.”
We commonly understand Lent as a period between seasons, but it carries a tone of reflection and revaluation of what was realized and assimilated in the previous cycle. Lent comes from the deep desire of our hearts to start anew.
About two hundred years after the birth of Christ, Christians began to prepare the Passover feast with three days of prayer, meditation and fasting. Around the year 350 C.E., the Church increased the preparation time to forty days: the preparation for the Rebirth of Christ.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again**”
Lent, or Quadragesima in Latin, determines the period of forty days of preparation for the Easter. In the Bible, and in many other sacred texts, the number forty appears in many significant ways. The forty days are an expression of a ritualistic period of initiation of which the theme is rebirth.
The meaning of Lent as “spring”, as it is designated by the change of season in nature; the storms, rains, and weather changes begin to tell us that change is on its way. Days become longer, seeds will soon sprout. All nature begins its awaken from the slumber of winter, and the entropy of things start to come alive.
**Note: The Greek for “again” also means “from above”.