Wednesday, Feb. 22 marked the beginning of a very important religious season. Ash Wednesday, as it is known, is the beginning of Lent. Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter, which is one of the most important Christian holidays.
“Lent is a season of acknowledging our sins,” said Mark Kurowski, director of University Ministry. “Also, it is receiving forgiveness from God.”
“It is a particular meaningful time to me because my favorite passage in the Bible is Matthew 5:8 which says, ‘Be perfect for your Heavenly father is perfect,” shared Kurowski.
According to Kurowski, Lent began around the year 200 by Bishop Ireanaus. During this period, individuals fast, or give up something that is particularly important. Christians would normally be baptized during Easter. “Traditionally, one would fast for 40 days in preparation for baptism,” Kurowski added.
“Lent was patterned after the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert where he was tempted by Satan,” said Kurowski. “Jesus said to Satan [as he tempted Jesus with food], ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Kurowski continued.
Typically, the days of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of total fasting.
“When fasting you can eat breakfast and lunch the day before [Ash Wednesday and Good Friday] but not dinner,” said Kurowski because traditionally, the day begins at sundown.
“When you feel hungry, say a prayer,” added Kurowski. “That becomes the whole idea of fasting.”
According to Kurowski, when one fasts for Lent, it should be a fast from something that is pleasurable. “It has to be something with meaning,” said Kurowski.
Kurowski feels that when recognizing Lent, one does it out of love. “The most important aspect of Lent is showing love for God,” added Kurowski. “[Fasting] is an act of love, not an obligation or duty.”
Kurowski shared that for Lent he is giving up Coke Zero. “Every time I want to stop at McDonald’s and spend $1.07 on a Coke Zero, I save that money and I will donate it to feed the hungry at the end of Lent,” shared Kurowski.
“When you are fasting, don’t be hypocritical. Be happy,” said Kurowski. “Do it because you love God. That is the whole point,” Kurowski explained.