Chapter 49 - The Observance of Lent

The life of a monastic ought to be a continuous Lent. RB 49:1

The integrity of who we proclaim to be ought to have a Lenten quality. Lent, according to the popular view, is a portion of the year given over to fasting, abstinence and ascesis (practices) of self-discipline which emphasize “giving up.”

For Benedict Lent has a wider and deeper meaning. He is speaking of a Lent of the spirit. Each person’s life is to be spent seeking a meaningful union with God. As the union intensifies it manifests itself in acts of charity. According to Benedict, viewing Lent in this way means EVERY DAY ought to have a Lenten quality. The implication is that what happens in Lent also applies in principle throughout the year.

Benedict is gentle, even serene, in his approach to those who would follow his way of life. He is concerned that our Lenten journey should come from the heart and not merely external observances.