By Kayla Mendoza, parishioner at Gathering Midtown, San Antonio

I feel lead to begin by describing shortly what Lent is. So, what is it, and why do we celebrate it?

Lent is the 40 days leading into the Easter season. It is a holy time of self-examination, a true reflection of where we are and a time of turning back to our Father. It’s a time of sobering oneself, and one of alignment with God. In short, Lent is a season of honesty.

I choose to take part in Lent each year because it’s a time for me to be honest with the reality that I, too, put him on the cross. It keeps me in a humbled state. It’s easy to get too busy to be honest with our own faults. Lent is a natural segue for me to easily jump on board with what God wants to do in my life. He loves me so much that he gives me these opportunities to get right with him. (Psalm 51, Joel 2:12-14, Mark 1:12-15)

During Lent, I usually take a couple days prior to Ash Wednesday to evaluate the things that get in the way of my relationship with my Father. The thing that gets in the way the most is what I decide to fast

[abstain] from. If it doesn’t make me squirm, anxious or uncomfortable to give up, then I know that I need to keep searching. In the past, I’ve known people (including myself) to give up popcorn, social media, gossiping, coffee, salt, even Dr. Pepper. Something I ask myself is “Do I think I can live without it?” If the answer is, “I don’t think so,” I know I am on the right path.

During the Lenten season, the great thing is when you lay down your shortcomings and failures, you’re able to pick up something greater. To each person it’s something different. For me it’s the Word, prayer and worship. It’s a complete dependence on the Lord. During Lent I’m able to grow so close to God, because I no longer have anything holding me back from accepting more of him. I make more time in the Word. It’s so important to have the Word of the Lord in our hearts for when the temptations come (so we may rebuke the evil one). Worship and prayer give me a security and an ability to get through the unthinkable. (Psalm 73:26, Proverbs 4:23, 1 Peter 1:25)

I would like to urge you to take this Lenten season seriously. I see it regularly, where people truly have a significant season by taking the season seriously. It’s easy to dismiss the season, and I’ll admit that there was a time that I did. The result? My Easter was not very impactful, because I didn’t mentally prepare for the sacrifice of Jesus’ death, that I’m free because of Him. We are no longer slaves! Let us live that way!

By Kayla Mendoza, parishioner at Gathering Midtown, San Antonio