Lent as told by a practicing Catholic

Easter is right around the corner, and with that comes the celebration of Lent.

Lent is a period of 40 days and 40 nights, omitting each Sunday and Ash Wednesday (the day in which Lent begins). The purpose of this event is to celebrate the day Jesus Christ resurrected himself and arose into Heaven. It is a time in which you are supposed to impose certain rituals on yourself to honor the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us. All the same, it’s a time of self-reflection, ceasing of self-indulgence, and getting closer to God. The Chronicle recently reached out to a well-known member of the local Catholic community, Paula Karrh, to get her take on Lent.

Karrh, a mother of five children, has spent 81 years of her life devoted to the Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Karrh, in turn, sent us an article to explain in her own words what Lent means to her. She titled this piece “What Lent Means To Me.” In this article, she details her experience with Lent, her first exposure, and her methods of honoring the month-long event.

“My earliest memories of Lent are as a child when my mother took me with my siblings to Ash Wednesday services at Holy Family Catholic Church in Columbus. The service was scriptural with a call to repent of our sins and to return to God. The priest asked us to pray, fast, and do penance and good works in memory of the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us on Good Friday. Then, at the end of the short service, he placed ashes on our foreheads to remind us that we are dust and that to dust we shall return. It was a solemn reminder that we were entering into the holiest time of the Christian year.

That service began the time that Christians all over the world prepare for the great day of salvation when Jesus died and rose from the dead on Easter. Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays, in which Christians take stock of their lives to form a closer union with Jesus. We were called to give up something we really liked or to do something good that we couldn’t stand to do. I usually gave up eating chocolate every day, which was very hard for me. Others gave up soft drinks, made themselves do chores they hated, or made themselves be kind to people who were not kind to them. The main calls from the church are to pray, repent, fast and do almsgiving. In modern days, the church calls us to do something positive that involves self-control and changing of bad habits.

One of the best ways for some people is to go over the Ten Commandments and select one that needs some attention, to try to do that, and offer it up to God for His sacrifice and for our salvation. Fasting is another way the church urges us to draw closer to Christ. In the Catholic Church, it means having only one full meal a day with meat and two lesser meals without meat. The church requires those members who are 18-59 years to do so. The church also called for those over 14-years-old to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Fridays during Lent. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, so we sacrifice something for Him. We are also called to pray more and to practice almsgiving.

Almsgiving can mean more than just giving money to the needy, the church, or some charity. It can also mean giving your talents and time to someone less fortunate who needs help.

The word ‘Lent’ is an old Anglo-Saxon word, meaning ‘springtime.’ Most of us do spring cleaning at this time, and you can think of Lent as a time to do spring cleaning of the soul. Lent is a period of 40 days in honor of the 40 days and nights Christ spent in the desert as well as the 40 days Moses spent with God on the mountain before he received the Ten Commandments. It is a time to look into our spiritual life and to do something to improve it as well as try to draw closer to God. All of these practices prepare us to celebrate the holiest of holy days, Easter, in which Jesus Christ rose from the dead to save us because He loves us.”

Indeed, it does take an entire community to uphold a church, much like it takes every body part working in unison to sustain human life. Colossians 1:18 and 1:24 states that Jesus Christ is seen as the “head” of the body, which is the church while the “members” of the body are seen as members of the church, or rather are the lifeblood of the church.

These days, Karrh spends her time gardening as well as judging various flowers in competitions around America as a certified judge. Although there haven’t been a great many opportunities this year to travel much, Karrh just as well found the time to give us her time to undertake this interview and for that, we here at The Chronicle would like to thank her for providing us with her honorable input on the topic as well as providing us with an article over the topic itself. We would like you wish you the very best health and safety going forward and hope you can soon return to judging flowers across the country.

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