The 40 days of Lent come from the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before starting his public ministry. After Jesus’ baptism by John, Luke’s Gospel says, “Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordon, and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1-2).
An important part of the Holy Spirit’s work is to bring inner transformation in our lives. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism, but he did not begin his ministry in the power of the Spirit until he first let the Holy Spirit overcome the devil’s temptations to use his power for self-centered purposes. In Lent, we allow the Spirit to work in us overcoming our self-centered temptations (the world, the flesh, and the devil). Galatians 5:13-26 describes this process of inner transformation in which we overcome the works of the flesh (immorality, impurity, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, etc.) and put on the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). In overcoming these temptations we learn in a deeper way to “live by the Spirit” (v.16); be “guided by the Spirit” (v.18); “live in the Spirit” and “follow the Spirit” (v.25).
This is an excerpt from The Three Times of Intercession for the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church” brochure. For more information click on the button below.