You are here:
The Feast of Lent

The Feast of Lent

A special liturgical time, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the eve of the great feast of Easter. It is spread over a period of six weeks.

Instituted in the fourth century in reference to the forty days that Jesus lived in the desert, Lent is a time of penance and spiritual preparation for the celebration of the passion and resurrection of Christ.


Discover in this article the meaning of Lent and the celebration of this liturgical time in the Catholic Church. Pray and meditate with Hozana during Lent in order to follow in the footsteps of Christ!

What is Lent?

In Latin, Lent is called quadragesima, meaning fortieth. It thus designates a duration of forty days, with reference to two major events recounted in the Old and New Testaments:

  • First, the forty years spent by the Hebrew people in the desert after their exodus from Egypt and before their entry into the promised land.
  • Then, the forty days spent by Christ in the desert after his baptism and before the beginning of his public life.

These two periods of forty days both refer to a time of spiritual preparation and penance, marked by fasting and prayer, but also by trials and temptations. The number forty also symbolizes the time necessary for a renewal: it is called the "number of faith"!


For the Catholic Church, Lent thus refers to the preparatory period for the commemoration of the passion of Christ during Holy Week, especially his resurrection, at Easter! The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines this time as follows: "The Church is united every year by the forty days of Great Lent to the mystery of Jesus in the desert". (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 540)

The Celebration of Lent in the Catholic Church

The liturgical time of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and ends on Holy Saturday, on the eve of Easter. During this time, the Catholic Church calls the faithful to detachment from material goods, but also to prayer, fasting and sharing in order to prepare to follow Christ on his way of the cross and during his glorious resurrection! It was also during this time that the final preparation of the catechumens who would be baptized at Easter took place.


During the six weeks of Lent, readings tell us to meditate on the different stages of the Hebrew people: its origins, its history, Moses, and the prophets. The gospels of each Sunday allow us to gradually discover the face of Christ, who reveals himself to us. Jesus, through his many calls, invites us to follow him to his Father and to entrust ourselves to him.

The texts read on the first two Sundays are always those of the temptation of Jesus in the desert: “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” (Luke 4:1-13). Those of the following Sundays vary according to the liturgical year.


Finally, Lent is celebrated with a particular liturgical color, purple, used to symbolize spiritual preparation and conversion. During this liturgical time marked by penance, the alleluia and gloria are not chanted until the Easter vigil.


Devotion and Prayers for the Time of Lent

Lent: a Time of Conversion!

The time of Lent is a call to conversion for everyone! For forty days, we are called to turn our hearts to the death and resurrection of Jesus, through the search for greater inner availability.

Thus, the penance that is asked of us is not an end in itself! It is only a means of making oneself available and open to the reception of Christ in our lives.


The Church calls us to follow the same spiritual path that Christ lived in the desert and from which he emerged victorious! Indeed, the time of Lent is inseparable from the Easter Season, as we prepare to receive the Holy Spirit in fullness. Thus, Lent, far from being a sad moment, is filled with the joyful hope of the resurrection of Christ and of the coming of the Holy Spirit in our lives!  

Prayer for Lent

“You invite us, Lord, to convert; a task never finished, because we will always be sinners. But you do not leave us alone to enter this time of conversion. You give us your Son, Jesus. It is with Him that we want to walk. With Him we will go to the desert. With him, we will climb the mountain. And, from week to week, we put our steps in His footsteps until we communicate, more intensely, to the total gift that Jesus makes of Himself, on the Cross, out of love for us. Amen.”


Sisters of the Congregation of the Nuns of the Sacred Hearts

Pray with Hozana during the Octave of Lent!

A time of conversion, Lent is a call to follow Christ who gives his life for all! Follow Jesus throughout these forty days and follow in his footsteps! Join the beautiful prayer communities on Hozana to experience this time of grace in detachment, prayer and above all in joy!


Association Hozana - 8 rue du Palais de Justice, 69005 Lyon

Contact us