For Catholics, the Lenten season has a “twofold character”:
1) it recalls baptism or prepares for it
2) it stresses a penitential spirit.
The baptismal focus on Lent serves as a kind of “40-day retreat” for candidates to be baptized at Easter. The rest of the Church prays and fasts in solidarity with them.
Those to be baptized must reject sin and embrace Christ; those already baptized must renew and reaffirm that baptismal commitment. That’s the basis of “Lenten penance.”
On Ash Wednesday, we hear Jesus talk about three ways we relate to God: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These traditional Lenten practices are still the best. They open us to God’s grace as we seek to deepen our commitment to Christ.
The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land is not a parish, so we don’t have the Lenten witness of those preparing for baptism in our midst. Our liturgies and other observances, however, follow the Church’s intention to recall our baptismal commitment, to turn away from sin, and to believe the Good News. We invite you to journey through Lent with us.