What is Lent?

Author: Donnetta McClellan

2021 Lent

Lent is the 40-day period in the Christian calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and comes before Easter. Although this Ash Wednesday looks very different than it has in years past, it doesn’t alter its meaning or reason.  It is still a time intentionally set aside in preparation for the two most important days of the Christian year, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  It is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice, and good works. It is an opportunity to reflect on the human condition of our hearts and can lead to a deeper understanding of our Lord. 

An important element of Lent is becoming aware of not only the suffering and sacrifice of Christ but also to the suffering of others.  It’s not just about subtracting something from your daily life, whether it be in your diet or giving up habits that are not good for you. The Lenten season is about doing things that help you become more like Christ and grow in love for those around you. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis states, “A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion, and concern for our fellow human beings.” (91)

Whether it be food, energy, time, or resources, the Office of Sustainability would like to help you focus on actions that can be implemented not only in your daily routines, but even after the Lenten season has ended, and using those sacrifices to help those in need around you.

By asking Christians to deepen their commitment to the fight against climate change between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, the Lenten calendar illustrates one of the many profound connections between environmental awareness and Notre Dame’s mission.  We have a deep, spiritual obligation to care for God’s creation, and we can begin by taking care of the planet we all share.

2021 Lenten Calendar