COLUMN: Pray, give and give up more during Lent

Published 7:52 pm Sunday, March 10, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Chris A. Quilpa
Guest Columnist

As the season of Lent for Christians worldwide is in full swing, how’s our spiritual journey going? Are we determined to grow in our faith, even if there are twists and turns, bumps and bruises along the way? 

Our Lenten journey is a long way off and, at times, difficult, especially if we don’t have anyone personally to keep us company. It has its ups and downs. But let us not despair and be discouraged. Let us not be afraid. Instead, we have to be strong and stay focused because, in due time, we’ll be there experiencing the joy of Easter, the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and together with our resurrection from sin to the new life of grace. 

We will rise up and be born again, new and fresh, just as Jesus Christ will rise up from the dead. That’s what we believe. That’s what our Church has been teaching us for the past 2,000 years.  

With our fervent prayers and our faith and trust in the Almighty God who sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to inspire and save us from sin, our Lenten journey will go on smoothly. It’s only a matter of days/weeks before we reach our goal, which is a glorious Easter!

What have we given up so far during the season of Lent? Have we been doing well or feeling better because we made it a point to forget ourselves or deprive ourselves of something (we should have, but we let go) for the sake of others? 

Have we made confession and reconciliation, repentance, penance and contrition? The sacrament of reconciliation allows us Christians to open up and ask forgiveness for what we have done that is contrary to the Church’s teachings. We ask God to forgive us because of our sins we’ve committed while we continue living. We believe God is an ever-forgiving Almighty Father.

To ask forgiveness, let’s pray An Act of Contrition: O my Savior, I am truly sorry for having offended you because you are infinitely good, and sin displeases you. I detest all the sins of my life, and I desire to atone for them. Through the merits of your precious Blood, wash from my soul all stains of sin so that, cleansed in body and soul, I may worthily approach the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

Repentance is an act of being deeply sorry, regretful, or remorseful. Penance is a Christian sacrament in which a member of the Church confesses sins to a priest or pastor and is given absolution. Absolution is the remission of sin granted by the Church. 

Lent, as a penitential event in the life of a good Christian, involves prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is a holy season of renewal and conversion, especially for those who’ve been astray from the Church for a while. 

It is an opportune time to make amends for our sins and transgressions, be sorry for our unChristian lifestyle, and confess and do acts of contrition to obtain grace and divine mercy.    

It’s time to pray more, give more, give up more of ourselves, and think more of what we can do (more) for others. There’s, of course, a degree of sacrifice on our part—trying to forget ourselves and focus more on others, our less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ— while focused on our Lenten journey. 

Let us, therefore, continue to open ourselves more fully to the presence of God by nourishing our spiritual life and strengthening our faith with the ancient, traditional practices of Lent, which are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. 

Almsgiving helps us to grasp the deepest truth of all: that there is God who created all people and things. It is meant to be shared; everything came from God and belongs to God. We’re taught that it’s better to give than to receive. We also believe that the more we give, the more we receive. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, aka Mother Teresa, once said: Give until it hurts. 

Once you’ve given some of what you have, you feel relieved and better because you’ve done something, the corporal works of mercy, that God wants you to do for others. And if we think that we have nothing more to give, that’s when you see your dependence on God. That’s when you experience being closer to Him. 

Recipients of our generous deeds will be happy and grateful, and praying for us. When we see them happy, don’t we feel happy, too? The charitable acts we’ve shown to others, God knows. Our rewards will be tremendously aplenty, not only in terms of monetary or material rewards but good health, better relationships and disposition in life, etc. 

In Proverbs 3:5-6, we read: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto Thy own understanding. In all Thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct Thy path.” Let us put our complete trust in God, as we continue with our Lenten journey nourishing our spiritual life with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. And as we look forward to the joy of Easter, let us be mindful of the needs of our neighbors and more charitable to our Church and our community.

May our Lenten journey leading up to Easter be filled with joy, peace and the divine grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. May God bless us all always!

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth. Email him at