What are You Doing for Lent?

March has begun, and by this time of the year, we’re usually well into the Lenten season. But, thanks to a later Easter in 2011, we’re just beginning Lent this coming Wednesday. As always, we have a special Lenten theme on ACR.

Centuries ago, Lent was like a “40-day retreat,” imitating the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert before his public ministry. Lent was a time of intense preparation for those becoming Christians at Easter. The Second Vatican Council refocused Lent on that ancient purpose: During Lent, we pray and prepare with those to be welcomed into the Church at Easter–either through Baptism or through a reception into full communion with the Catholic Church for those who are already Christian.

But what if you’re already Catholic? Well then, the Lenten season is a time of penance to renew your Baptism. The word conversion neatly sums it all up: converting to Christ through Baptism and renewing that conversion each year at Easter, after our Lenten time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

For this year’s Lenten theme, our ACR team is taking its cue from the Holy Father’s 2010 Lenten message. Pope Benedict said: “Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need – the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship.”

Because we experience God’s love in Jesus, the pope went on to say, “the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love.”

In Lent 2011, American Catholic Radio will link this season’s conversion to how Christians can shape a just world. Stay tuned for great guests and inspiration to help you “know your faith so you can grow in your faith” this Lent.