What is the meaning of Lent?
Here Fr Tom O’Reilly, the Regional Director of the Columbans in Britain, offers some answers arising from an experience in Pakistan.
There's a crack in everything and the light gets in
Fr Tom O’Reilly
When I arrived at a small chapel on the outskirts of Gujranwala, Pakistan, to celebrate Mass on the first Sunday of Lent I was surprised to see the place was practically empty. Eventually, I was told that the people were assembled in the house of Rashid, a parishioner, to support him in the rigorous fast he had begun on Ash Wednesday.
On investigation, I found Rashid solemnly seated on a raised platform before his house and surrounded by many admirers. He had decided not to eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset for the 40 days of Lent and thus to prove that Christians could 'out-fast' Muslims, whose fast lasted only 28 days in the month of Ramadan!