The season of Lent is a season of penance, purity and deepening spiritual activity in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and includes 40 week days and six Sundays. Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) starts Holy Week which ends in the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
The word "Lent" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "lencten", referring to the lengthening of days in the Spring. Lent, of course, is an English word. In Latin, still the official language of the the Catholic Church, the entire season is known as Quadrigesima, or "forty".
The number 40 is significant. In the old testament, Noah spent 40 days and nights on the arc. Moses and the Hebrew people wandered in the desert for 40 years. Elijah fasted on Mount Hreb for 40 days and Jonah prophesied the destruction of Nineveh for 40 days. In the new testament, Jesus went out into the desert to pray for 40 days and nights.
In 604 Pope Gregory I defined Lent as "The spiritual tithing of the year", a time of solemn spiritual and physical preparation for our own acceptance of salvation through Christ's sacrifice. (Ordinary tithing meant to give a tenth part a tithe of one's goods to God. Lent's forty days represents about a tenth of the year.)
Both fast and abstinence are required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. For the record, rules of the Church in the United States about fasting and abstinence in effect since 1966 state that:
"Catholics in the United States are obliged to abstain from the eating of meat on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays during the season of Lent. They are also obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. Self-imposed observance of fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended. Abstinence from flesh meat on all Fridays of the year [excluding solemnities like Christmas which may fall on Friday] is especially recommended to individuals and to the Catholic community as a whole." (ref. Canons 1249-1253, Code of Canon Law)
As Pope Leo I stressed in the 5th century, the purpose of fasting is to foster pure, holy, and spiritual activity. It is an act of solidarity that joins us to Christ an act of self-donation in imitation of His total self-sacrifice. Fasting can heighten our understanding of Christ's Mystical Body, the Church, and of our total dependence on His love and mercy.
Before the changes of Vatican II, there used to be an official season of preparation for Lent! What a great idea!! I'm so sorry they eliminated that. Nonetheless, over the years I have found resources online to help me with observing the Lenten Season. As I find more I will be adding them to my Lent and Easter Page above.
I posted this on my personal Facebook page today:
The Sunday before Lent in the Eastern Churches is called Forgiveness Sunday. http://lent.goarch.org/forgiveness/learn/ I saw one of my other Facebook Friends post about this on Facebook and thought I would take the same opportunity to ask forgiveness from all my friends on FB. If we are friends on FB, please know that I value that, and I am truly sorry for what I have done, and what I have failed to do.
Likewise in the spirit of forgiveness and penance, I also ask forgiveness for what I have done and what I have failed to do that was not charitable regarding this blog. In studying Logic this year, I have learned that one thing even secular logicians do is give each other "grace" that the premise is true for the sake of argument. A premise may indeed be true, but the conclusion can still be false - but it's certainly helpful in looking for the truth of the conclusion that we give each other grace - something to work on in this Lenten Season.
Preparing for Lent
Septuagesima and Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
What is Shrove Tuesday
Creighton University New
40 Days to a More Organized Home
The Great Lent
Aggie Catholics Lent FAQ
Aggie Catholics - Jumpstart your Prayer Life!
And Jesus Wept
Can a Mother Observe Lent
Coffee and my Inner Jesuit
Evangelicals observing Lent
Falling in Love with Lent Again
Intentional Lent New!
Loveliness of Lent
The Meat Police
St. Paul Bible Study
The Story of a Life
The Domestic Monastery
These 40 days Lent
Karen Edmisten - Lent postings
The Power of the Cross
Lenten Reading List from the Anchoress 2014
Fasting Bread for Lent
Tasty Tuna Casserole from the Simple Dollar Blog
What's for Dinner!!
Egg and Spam casserole for St. Patrick's Day
Weeknight salmon patties
10 Commandments of Lent for Moms
16 Ways to Improve your Prayer Life New!
19 Things to give up for Lent New!
39 Ways to Keep Lent Holy without Giving Up Sweets! New!
Saving the Rest of Lent
Pick Me Ups for the Homeschooling Mom
40 Ways to Improve your Lent
40 Ways to Get More out of Lent
More resources for Kids
Lent for Little Ones
66 Things to Give up for Lent
Liturgical Living at a Glance for Marc
Stations of the Cross Box for Kids
The Three Pillars of Lent New!
Don't Waste your Lent! 7-Ways to Have a Good Lent New!
What to Give up For Lent according to your personality type! New!
Examination of Conscience
Examination of Conscience for Children
Mother's Examination of Conscience
Examination of Conscience for School Children
Father Hardon Examination of Conscience
Father Alberione Examination of Conscience
Examination of conscience
A Holy Thursday Reflection for Mothers New
Lenten Arts and Crafts
Crown of Thorns Recipe and crown of thorns here
Good Deed Bracelet
Lenten Promise Cards
The Saints of Lent
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity
St. Patrick Cupcakes
St. Patrick - History
St. Patrick Doll
St. Patrick Film
St. Patrick's Day Craft from Karen'ts Adventures in Mommyland
St. Patrick's Day - Cottage Blessings.
St. Patrick's Day Crafts
St. Patrick's Day Books and Crafts
St. Patricks crafts and lessons
Loveliness of St. Patrick's Day
Shower of Roses St. Patrick's Day
Unit Study- Saint Patrick Knowledge Quest
Virtual St. Joseph Altar Blog: 1st Annual St. Joseph Altar Blog Fest
The history of the St. Joseph Altar
The Virtual St. Joseph Altar
St. Joseph Altar
St. Joseph Novena for kids
Lent In My Domestic Church
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross
Way of the Cross for Holy Souls in Purgatory
Cukierski Family Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross Reflections
St.Francis Stations of the Cross
Medieval Mothering Day
The Learning Experience of Holy Week
Holy Thursday- Fish Eaters
Holy Thursday - Catholic Online
When is Easter