As Lent begins | Dailytrust

As Lent begins

Silhouette of Jesus with Cross over sunset concept for religion, worship, prayer and praise.

Today, Christians in Nigeria join their counterparts in other parts of the world to commence the 2021 Lenten season; a period of fasting, prayers and abstinence.

The season takes off with the marking of ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a mark of humility, repentance and reminder that men are ‘‘mere dust and to dust they shall return’’.

The season takes off with the marking of ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a mark of humility, repentance and reminder that men are ‘‘mere dust and to dust they shall return’’.

In observing the season, Christians are however enjoined to beware of hypocrisy and to be sincere in their actions.

In his message, Fr. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua, a priest of the Catholic Church, and the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) and Secretary-General of the West Africa Inter-Religious Council (WAIRC), said, the message of Lent is “no pain, no gain”; “no Good Friday, no Easter Sunday”; “No cross, no crown”. The Church recommends fasting and generosity as among the ways we can share in the suffering of Christ. When you give from the produce of your sweat what you really need, you feel some pain. Considering the passion of Jesus, these are the least every good Christian can offer for the sake of the sorrowful passion’’.

He noted that the journey of Jesus Christ and experience in the hands of his persecutors during the 40 days teaches persistence in prayers and patience in daily life.

“The carrying of the cross and the long walk to Calvary is a lesson on endurance and patience and I urge all Christians to imbibe these virtues.’’

We congratulate Christians in Nigeria and the world over for witnessing another Lenten season, especially with all the travails that have bedevilled the world in the past year and pray that they successfully complete the season.

As noted above, the major tenets of Lent are fasting, abstinence and almsgiving and we pray that God gives the adherents the strength to fast and the will to keep to the other teachings and demands of the next 40 days.

This particular Lent came at a time when there are so many things happening that require God’s intervention.

First, the world is battling the deadly coronavirus pandemic and in Nigeria, apart from the disease, we are faced with all sorts of problems ranging from religious to ethnic and high crime rate.

This period, therefore, provides Christians with an opportunity to sincerely seek the face of God in the travails through intense prayers. There is a need for prayers for God to forgive us of our sins and heal our land of all the problems it is experiencing.  This is also a time to particularly pray against the crimes and that all those involved will have a change of heart and repent of their sins.

The leaders of the country also need prayers for God to give them the wisdom to guide the people aright.

We urge Christian leaders to use this period to harp on the danger of the coronavirus and the need for the faithful to observe the laid-out protocols as a means of tackling the crisis. The clergy should also intensify preaching on peace this season so that the followers can imbibe that teaching and ensure peaceful co-existence wherever they find themselves.

It is also time to preach unity as without it no nation can succeed. Christians should renew their relationships with one another and extend hands of fellowship to adherents of other faiths.

One of the major tenets of Lent is almsgiving. All around us, there are people in need, some displaced by the Boko Haram activities in the North East and banditry in some other parts of the country. We also have people who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. We call on those with the wherewithal to offer assistance where necessary.

We pray for Almighty God to grant Christians the grace to go through this season so that at the end they will reap the rewards that come with it.