The forty days of Lent are offered to God in imitation of Jesus, who “was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, where he was tempted by the devil.”
Jesus chose to rely on the care of his Father, to surrender himself as servant to the will and plan of his Father, and to follow God's will in Jerusalem, even if that meant terrible suffering and shameful death on the cross.
The season of Lent gives us the opportunity to participate in the liberation brought by Jesus to all those who are oppressed by the demons of self-reliance, power, and self-interest.
During this season we seek to understand the meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection with the ultimate goal of changing our lives.
“We are a people in trouble.” We dominate, discriminate, and oppress on the way to achieving personal success. We watch disinterestedly as our brothers and sisters suffer the pain of poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, and death.
We rid ourselves of “the enemy” through war, abortion, and the death penalty. But we are also a people whose God is “rich in mercy,” a God who “has heard our cry and seen our affliction.”
Lent is our prayer that this merciful God bring us back to the life Jesus has won for us.
The Christian lives under the interior law of liberty, which is a permanent call to [us] to turn away from self-sufficiency to confidence in God and from concern for self to sincere love of neighbor. Thus takes place his genuine liberation and the gift of himself for the freedom of others.
Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 1971: 33.