If you are Christian, you are probably familiar with Lent, but if you aren’t and are wondering what it is, then these Lent quotes will help explain it.
The short answer is that Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar. It commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert and enduring Satan’s temptations.
According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this happened before Christ began his public ministry.
The enumerated days of Lent differ between denominations. However, regardless of denomination, Lent is described as lasting for a total of 40 days.
For Western Churches, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later. There are several Lent quotes about Ash Wednesday and Good Friday that explain the significance of these holy days.
Depending on the Christian denomination, Lent ends either on the evening of Maundy Thursday or at sundown on Holy Saturday, when the Easter Vigil is celebrated. Some denominations exclude Sundays from being observed.
Eastern Churches, including Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Lutheran, or Eastern Catholic, Lent is observed continuously. They observe the rituals for 40 days straight; starting on Clean Monday and ending at noon of Holy Saturday.
Keep reading through these Lent quotes for more on fasting and self-denial, which are a large part of the traditions surrounding Lent.
Don’t forget to also check out these Christian quotes to inspire faith & love.
Lent quotes about Ash Wednesday and Good Friday
1. “Ash Wednesday, with its visible sign of dust and ashes on our foreheads, is a forcible reminder of our own frailty and mortality and sinfulness. We don’t like to remember those parts of ourselves, but on this day, it is literally rubbed onto us.” — Paul J. Willis
2. “Without the breath of God, we are but dust. On the brink of Lent, Ash Wednesday helps us remember the life and death stakes in our own stories.” — Carolyn Arends
3. “Ash Wednesday is full of joy… The sources of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust.” — Father Thomas Merton
4. “I’m a sinner. I don’t always love God as strongly as I could or as directly as I should. Ash Wednesday reminds me that it is only through God that I have life; He gave it to me. God forgives. He loves. And He gives this sinner a second chance. Put simply: my God kicks ash.” — Mark Hart
5. “Nevertheless, the liturgy of Ash Wednesday is not focussed on the sinfulness of the penitent but on the mercy of God. The question of sinfulness is raised precisely because this is a day of mercy, and the just do not need a savior.” — Father Thomas Merton
6. “Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast.” — Father Thomas Merton
7. “Ash Wednesday; Time to reflect and share our thanks, for this is the time that we remember the greatest sacrifice.” — Unknown
8. “Through the stark and solemn Liturgy of the Friday we call “Good,” we stand at the Altar of the Cross where heaven is rejoined to earth and earth to heaven, along with the Mother of the Lord. We enter into the moment that forever changed – and still changes – all human History, the great self gift of the Son of God who did for us what we could never do for ourselves by in the words of the ancient Exultet, “trampling on death by death.” We wait at the tomb and witness the Glory of the Resurrection and the beginning of the New Creation.” — Deacon Keith Fournier
9. “Unless there is Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.” — Fulton J. Sheen
10. “Some people think that having ash on your forehead is ridiculous. But I am neither ashamed nor afraid because the ashes remind me that I have to someday pass away and reunite with my creator.” — Walter Buns
11. “As you mourn for your sins and weaknesses this Ash Wednesday through fasting, mourning and weeping, may you be truly transformed from your heart.” — John Tribes
Lent quotes about fasting
12. “Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps us cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.” — Pope Francis
13. “The central focus of fasting remains to draw near to God. It reveals sins from which we must repent. Fasting is an act of worship that changes our spiritual and physical posture toward God.” — Timothy Willard
14. “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.” — John Chrysostom
15. “Fasting is more about longing for the power and presence of Jesus than restricting our appetites.” — Gary Rohrmayer
16. “Fasting from any nourishment, activity, involvement or pursuit—for any season—sets the stage for God to appear. Fasting is not a tool to pry wisdom out of God’s hands or to force needed insight about a decision.” — Dan B. Allender
17. “Fasting is not a tool for gaining discipline or developing piety (whatever that might be). Instead, fasting is the bulimic act of ridding ourselves of our fullness to attune our senses to the mysteries that swirl in and around us.” — Dan B. Allender
18. “Fasting is more about replacing than it is about abstaining — replacing normal activities with focused times of prayer and feeding on the Word of God.” — Gary Rohrmayer
19. “The lent period of fasting should be passionately pursued.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita
20. “Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food.” — Dallas Willard
21. “Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity.” — St. Augustine
22. “Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ; discipline your body; do not pamper yourself, but love fasting.” — St. Benedict
23. “The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; it is hearing with the spirit, with your whole being.” Father Thomas Merton
Lent quotes about giving something up for the season
24. “When people give up chocolate or meat or alcohol or coffee, it is not because we Christians think that if we enjoy something, it must be bad. Coffee, meat, alcohol and especially chocolate are very good things that show God’s goodness, creativity, and provision. Of course, Christians ought to be interested and working toward breaking habits of sin — gossip, lust, judgment, anger, pride, and so on — but this is called repentance, which is certainly not limited to Lent. I’m not giving up Facebook in the same way that I’m repenting of (and trying to give up) anxiety or impatience with my toddler.” — Tish Harrison Warren
25. “What is more important than the practices we take on is the heart attitude behind them. If there’s anything we should give up this time of year, it’s our sense of superiority either to those outside the church or those inside the church who do things differently than we do. The cross levels us all. And that’s true whether or not you practice Lent.” — Trevin Wax
26. “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.” — Pope Francis
27. “Our sacrifices in this season are so minuscule as to be laughable, except that our Father seems only too willing to use our tiny offerings as portals for his grace. Every hunger pang or caffeine craving becomes a holy prompt—pray, trust, surrender. The whole season becomes a bit delicious with anticipation: Easter is coming!” — Carolyn Arends
28. “The self-denial involved in the period of Lent isn’t about just giving up chocolates or beer; it’s about trying to give up a certain set of pictures of God which are burned into our own selfish wants.” — Rowan Williams
29. “If the invitation of Lent is to practice abstaining from something to focus more fully on who God is and how God is at work in the world, then I need to fast from my dependence on criticism.” — Megan Westra
30. “Self-denial means knowing only Christ, and no longer oneself. It means seeing only Christ, who goes ahead of us, and no longer the path that is too difficult for us… Self-denial is saying only: He goes ahead of us; hold fast to him.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
31. “And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” — Luke 9:23
32. “It is not just about giving up our favorite food but it’s about going further and giving up things like hatred and unforgiveness. You need to clean your heart and prepare yourself for purity.” — Amanda Jobs
Lent quotes to show us what the season is really about
33. “There are three elements that are almost always part of Lent: prayer, giving something up, and giving something back.” — Elizabeth Hyndman
34. “Lent affords us the opportunity to search the depths of our sin and experience the heights of God’s love.” — Chuck Colson
35. “Each year, around the latter part of winter, Lent arrives. It nearly always surprises me. Here it is, once again, summoning me to change how I typically live.” — W. David O. Taylor
36. “What if we view this desert time of Lent as not just a time to reflect or to lament or to confess or to fast, but a time where we learn to be free?” — Megan Westra
37. “Lent comes providentially to awaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” — Pope Francis
38. “The seasons of Lent and Easter bring thoughts of surrender and sacrifice.” — Nana Dolce
39. “O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.” — Henri Nouwen
40. “At its simplest, Lent is a season where you commit to a deeper holiness and more vibrant discipleship.” — George Sinclair
41. “During Lent, let us find concrete ways to overcome our indifference.” — Pope Francis
Lent quotes about what time it is for and its meaning
42. “Lent is a time for discipline, for confession, for honesty, not because God is mean or fault-finding or finger-pointing but because he wants us to know the joy of being cleaned out, ready for all the good things he now has in store. — N.T. Wright
43. “We need to take time to connect with the poor, resist our unceasing cravings, and pray. But we also need to gather with friends and family, share in God’s good provision, eat delicious food, tell stories that encourage us all, and celebrate the risen Lord.” ― Chris Seay
44. “While I am asking God how I should observe an upcoming Lenten season, I may remember where I spiritually was during Lent the previous year and reflect on what has changed and what has stayed the same. I hear and read the familiar stories about Jesus as he approached the cross and am reminded that while my circumstances change, the truths of the gospel remain the same.” — Charlotte Donlon
45. “Although Lent is often the excuse people use to test drive a new diet or make good on their New Year’s resolution, that is not its purpose. Lent is a time when we prepare for Holy Week by meditating on our fragility before God and our desperate need for a Savior. It is a time when we remember why Jesus had to die. During Lent, we surrender an idol that has assumed improper centrality in our lives, and then we watch as our souls shrink and groan when that idol is taken away. We understand with new clarity that our hearts are indeed ‘idol factories,’ and that we would be hopelessly self-destructive and broken had Christ not intervened.” — Sharon Hodde Miller
46. “These special holidays give rise to various liturgical calendars that suggest we should mark our days not only with the cycles of the moon and seasons, but also with occasions to tell our children the stories of our faith community’s past so that this past will have a future, and so that our ancient way and its practices will be rediscovered and renewed every year.” ― Brian D. McLaren
47. “Lent is a time of going very deeply into ourselves…What is it that stands between us and God? Between us and our brothers and sisters? Between us and life, the life of the Spirit? Whatever it is, let us relentlessly tear it out, without a moment’s hesitation.” — Catherine Doherty
48. “I imagine Lent for you and for me as a great departure from the greedy, anxious antineighborliness of our economy, a great departure from our exclusionary politics that fears the other, a great departure from self-indulgent consumerism that devours creation. And then an arrival in a new neighborhood, because it is a gift to be simple, it is a gift to be free; it is a gift to come down where we ought to be.” ― Walter Brueggemann
49. “Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life.” ― Pope Benedict XVI
50. “As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst… He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.” ― Mother Teresa
What did you learn from these Lent quotes?
In most denominations, the last week of Lent coincides with Holy Week. Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, which follows the New Testament narrative. The commemoration of Jesus’ crucifixion happens on Good Friday.
The beginning of the next week marks the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday, the start of the Easter season. This is a time for celebration because it recalls the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Roman Catholic has some distinct Lenten rituals, but one thing I didn’t know was that they actually discourage marriages during this time. However, couples may still get married if they forgo the special blessings of the Nuptial Mass and engage in reduced social celebrations.
In Protestant and Western Orthodox Churches, the season of Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to the evening of Holy Saturday, making Lent last for 46 days if the 6 Sundays are included. However, if they are excluded then it is only 40 days.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these Lent quotes and sayings? Do you have any special observances that your denomination follows for Lent? Let us know in the comment section below.
October 18, 2021 7:00 AM EST