Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has launched a special web resource, and a Twitter and Instagram #LiveLent initiative, for Lent 2019, which begins on Ash Wednesday, 6 March 2019.
Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence. Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of His public ministry where He endured temptation.
Archbishop Martin said, “In his message for Lent 2019, which I encourage everyone to read, Pope Francis is inviting the faithful to return to God with all their hearts and to observe the three pillars of the Lenten season: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. The theme for the Pope’s message for Lent 2019 is ‘For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God (Rm 8:19)’.
“Appealing to the faithful to not allow this season of grace to pass in vain, Pope Francis says that if, ‘the Lent of the Son of God ‘was an entry into the desert of creation to make it become again that garden of communion with God that it was before the original sin, Christians today are invited to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.’
“Fasting, the Pope says, means turning away from the temptation to ‘devour’ everything to satisfy our voracity; Prayer teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego; Almsgiving or charity, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us.
“Pope Francis tells us that if we follow this journey it ‘is possible to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.’
“The path to Easter, therefore, demands that ‘we renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion, and forgiveness’ the Pope said pointing out that it is a call that involves the whole of creation.
“I encourage the faithful to reflect during this Lenten season on how to grow closer to God by our daily actions, thoughts, words and to consider what sacrifice might be made to achieve this. I also encourage the faithful to support this year’s Trócaire Lenten campaign which focuses on their work with communities in Guatemala, Lebanon, and Uganda.
“For Lent 2019 we are providing online resources, including the message of Pope Francis for Lent 2019, to assist our spiritual preparations for the joy and hope which comes with the Easter season. I encourage everyone to avail of our online resources and to take part in our #LiveLent initiative”, Archbishop Martin said.
The #LiveLent initiative will involve short daily suggestions shared on Twitter and Instagram based on the theme of the Holy Father’s Lenten message on how to best #LiveLent 2019. These will include suggestions on fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which are the three pillars of the Lenten season; prayer and scripture suggestions; opportunities for penance and fasting in our daily lives (e.g. fasting from gossip, fasting from negativity online, giving up certain foods for Lent, availing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation); suggestions of charitable acts (e.g. donating to Trócaire and other charities; donating your time by volunteering or helping out within your own family, school, parish; and behaving in a charitable way towards all those we meet).
Everyone is invited to take part using the hashtag #LiveLent and are encouraged to share with their own followers how they are putting the themes of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving into practice during Lent.