St Mary's Uttoxeter

February Fortitude

26 Jan 2024 • Articles

The word ‘fortitude’ means strength, like ‘fort’, a strong place. It is possible that the word ‘forty’ also started with ideas of strength, too, a strong round number.

The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday, which is on 14th February this year. Lent is traditionally a solemn time, when the Church thinks about the forty days which Jesus spent in the wilderness, being hungry and thirsty, facing difficult temptations, and considering and planning how to carry out God’s work in the world.

Jesus was strong enough to find the right answers to difficult problems and to reject the wrong ideas of the temptations. That was not just because he was God’s Son, but also because he thought and prayed and worked hard to know God’s will and to do it, even if that meant gladly giving up his own convenience and comfort.

The season of Lent leads up to the festival of Easter, rather like the season of Advent leads up to Christmas. The solemn seasons of preparation, when faithful Christians are asked to think seriously about their lives, help us to rejoice fully when we see what God is helping us to become. Christmas shows us Jesus giving up the safety and comfort of heaven to come to earth to rescue human beings from their easy-going sinfulness. Easter shows us Jesus giving up the possible safety of hiding away or the false victory of seizing earthly power, choosing instead to complete his true victory over sin by showing us the tragedy of innocent suffering.

What will you be doing this Lent to build up your strength in the Christian life ? Jesus had his own spiritual training programme - if he needed that, then you do, too.

With every blessing as you learn about yourself in Lent,