First Sunday of Lent: Reflect, repent as ‘sin and darkness’ manifests in Russian-Ukrainian war


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This year’s 40-day Lenten season began on Ash Wednesday last week, as Christian worshipers around the world began the spiritual commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, when he repeatedly tempted by Satan.

“This year, the wisdom and precautions of Lent are reinforced by violence and uncertainty coming from Ukraine.”

Referring to those 40 days spent in prayer and preparation by Jesus before his public ministry, Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, a priest at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Indian Land, South Carolina, told Fox News Digital that Christians should use this time to work on their own spiritual renewal.

ASH WEDNESDAY, BEGINNING OF LENT: WHEN ‘THE WORLD IS ON THE EDGE, WE MUST TURN TO GOD’

They can do this through “prayer, fasting and almsgiving,” Kirby said.

The first Sunday of Lent is also called Quadragesima Sunday, which is derived from the Latin words meaning “fortieth”, because this first Sunday is exactly 40 days before Easter.

An individual’s hands are shown in prayer. Throughout Lent, we are invited to “repent and believe in the gospel,” the father said. Jeff Kirby from South Carolina.

There are six Sundays in all in Lent, including Palm Sunday.

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Observing Lent in its entirety keeps the eyes of the faithful on God and His promises in the Bible, said Fr. Kirby, author of the new book, “Glory Unto Glory: A Primer on Ascetical Theology.”

“What are we going to do with the gift of life?

“On Ash Wednesday, a stark reminder was given that we are dust and we will return to dust,” he said.

Ash Wednesday last week marked the start of Lent this year - and at a time when there is such tragedy and violence in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, we need to turn to God more than ever, urges a Catholic priest.

Ash Wednesday last week marked the start of Lent this year – and at a time when there is such tragedy and violence in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, we need to turn to God more than ever, urges a Catholic priest.
(Getty Images)

This thought reminds each of us that life itself “is at stake” and that throughout Lent we are invited to “repent and believe in the gospel”.

Our lives today are “juxtaposed” between our birth and our death, he said.

“What are we going to do with the gift of life? How will our life contribute to what Saint Paul called “the most excellent way of love”?

Prof. Jeff Kirby told Fox News Digital that during Lent we must "repent and believe the gospel." He also said, "As a sovereign nation is invaded and fights for its very existence, we see the tragedy of sin and darkness play out in our fallen world."

Prof. Jeff Kirby told Fox News Digital that during Lent we need to “repent and believe in the gospel.” He also said, “As a sovereign nation is invaded and fights for its very existence, we see the tragedy of sin and darkness playing out in our fallen world.”
(Father Jeff Kirby)

Prof. Kirby said the death and suffering we see in the ongoing war in Ukraine should serve as sobering reminders of the reality of evil and sin.

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“This year, the wisdom and precautions of Lent are reinforced by violence and uncertainty coming from Ukraine,” he noted.

“As a sovereign nation is invaded and fights for its very existence, we see the tragedy of sin and darkness play out in our fallen world.”

Destroyed buildings are seen on March 3, 2022 in Irpin, Ukraine.

Destroyed buildings are seen on March 3, 2022 in Irpin, Ukraine.
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Saying that good people are shocked and bewildered by the reality of what is happening in Ukraine, Kirby noted that the peace has been “shattered” by a cruel “will to power.”

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“The tranquility was overturned by raw aggression,” he said.

The “quiet of life” has been overtaken by “unprovoked brutalism”.

A Ukrainian mother, Karina, and her 3-year-old daughter Luna speak with a UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia in Romania.

A Ukrainian mother, Karina, and her 3-year-old daughter Luna speak with a UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia in Romania.
(UNICEF/Alex Nicodim)

Kirby explained that “dark spirits… expose the downfall of our world and remind Christians, and all people of good will, of the tragic consequences of mankind’s capacity to sin and destroy.”

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We can observe the First Sunday of Lent by looking within as we pray for peace in these frightening and uncertain times, Fr. Kirby noted.

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“The fall of the world serves as a constant examination of conscience and a strong reminder, especially during Lent,” Kirby said, “of why we must temper our minds, seek virtue, and aspire to follow the most excellent of love.”

Stick with Fox News Digital throughout Lent this yearas Christians prepare for Easter.


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