Leaning Into Lent and Easter


Margie Edwards

Ash Wednesday Program

Chloe Sehy, Staff Writer

Lent is our way as Christians to prepare for Easter. However, it may be most known as the time of year where you give something up or do something special, and you can’t eat meat on Fridays. However, Lent has a deeper spiritual meaning and is a way to grow closer to God. As Christians, learning about sacred times in the liturgical year can help boost your faith. But, what is the background of lent, why do Christians give things up or do something special, and what are people around SJA giving up or doing this year?

Lent is a period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter and is a symbolic time. The period of time being 40 days is in reference to the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. Mrs. Sarah Boul, theology teacher, notes what Jesus did during the 40 days and how it relates back to lent.

“When Jesus goes out into the desert, he’s tempted, but he, for 40 days, doesn’t eat or drink anything. So that’s kind of a practice of fasting and of giving something up,” Mrs. Boul said. 

This relates back to the practice, as Christians, of giving up something for lent. It is a way of showing dedication to God, like Jesus in the desert, as Christains prepare for Jesus’ resurrection or rising from the dead. During lent we focus on three main aspects of our faith. We call these the three pillars of lent. They are known as fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. While fasting and prayer you might recognize, almsgiving means giving or taking care of the poor. Ms. Boul ties these pillars tie to Jesus’ time spent in the desert. 

“Jesus fasts from food and water, but then in that he’s praying to God and listening to God’s voice. Part of the almsgiving is…we’re called to take care of the poor. Jesus doesn’t really do that in the desert, but he always talks about taking care of the poor,” she said.

What we do during lent, fasting, praying, giving to those in need, all are connected to Jesus as a way to grow closer to him and allow our hearts to welcome Jesus when he rises from the dead. When we choose to give something up for lent, something we love, we share in Jesus’ sacrifice and temptation. Throughout Lent we pray to God to prepare us for Easter then strengthen our faith. With almsgiving if you chose to do something instead of giving something up, for example the St. Joseph Lenten promise of doing one act of kindness a day, you are helping someone else whether that is making their day happier, helping those in need, etc. You are spreading the word of God by taking care of those in need like Jesus preached about.

Lent has a lot of spiritual meaning like how it connects us with Jesus in small things we do during this special time. However, it can also mean different things to different people. 

Freshman Lauren Sonnenberg uses Lent as a reset.

“My favorite thing about lent is being able to set goals for yourself and try to carry out those goals,” Lauren said.

Mrs. Boul, however, sees how sometimes when we give something up we might lose sight of our true intention. When we try to give things up or set certain goals, our new intention could be to work on ourselves instead of our true intention which is to better our relationship with God. Both of these insights coincide with one another. When we make goals such as giving up a favorite food or doing an act of kindness, we are sharing our experience with Jesus when he fasted in the desert and preached about giving back to the community. This then helps grow our relationship with Jesus.


Students receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday.

Lent is a time in the liturgical year as Christians to grow in faith and grow closer to Jesus as we prepare for his resurrection. Mrs. Boul explains how the small things in Lent are based on Jesus’ trip into the desert and his growing ministry. Lauren Sonnenberg and Mrs. Boul share their insights on what lent means to them and both help them grow closer to God.