Christians reflect on meaning of Easter - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Christians reflect on meaning of Easter

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April 8, 2007

Albany - - The Easter holiday is coming to an end but the spirit of the season stays on the minds of many Christians who spent the last 40 days in reflection. The 40 days before Easter is referred to as Lent. 

Ligia VonSehlicten has taken the holiday to heart.

"Lots of praying, lots of sacrifices. So it really has been beautiful."

For the past 40 days, she's observed Lent, a period of time Christians sacrifice or "give up" something.

"Well not too much sugar, not too much television," she laughs.

Those are the things we typically think of when you think of giving up something, but priests say the idea of sacrifice has somewhat been taken out of context.

"That wasn't the original focus of the Christian community," says Father Clif Marquis who travels from Americus to Albany every Sunday to oversee mass services for Spanish speaking Catholics at St. Teresa's Church.

"The real focus on Lent was a call to renewal."

Which may include things like fasting, but he says there's more to it.

"Finding that thing or that combination of different practices which would awaken in me again and in the community, the realization of the gift we received in baptism, so that its something we *are* and not something we *did*."

So after Lent, Father Clif says, Christians should have a renewed commitment to their faith. 

Though VonSehlicten made a few sacrifices of her own, she understands the reason behind it.

"We remember His passion and death that He died for us."

So much, that her small sacrifices, she says doesn't amount to the sacrifice of Jesus.

"The biggest sacrifice, giving his life for us."

It gives meaning to the holiday for families attending the service.

"We need to pray. People forget to pray anymore. We need to," she says.  

Father Clif says the Lent season originated in the late 4th century and early 5th century after Christians noted how Jesus took 40 days for reflection before beginning his public life on Earth.

The official end of Lent is Holy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter, to provide three days of preparation for Sunday's holiday.

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