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It’s time now for the annual Lent Wars!
If Christmas is the season to be jolly, Lent is the season to be needlessly scrupulous and neurotic, and to argue online about things that have VERY little to do with imitating Jesus, amiright?
In this video, I tell the truth about the main confusions many people seem to have about Lent.
Since Ye Olde Anglo Saxon days, Lent took over from the Latin term quadragesima, which means “the fortieth day.”
But…. if you sit down with your calendar and count the days of Lent they do not total 40 regardless of whether you include Sundays.
The number is more biblically symbolic than literal. However, 40 recurs frequently in the Bible. A sample:
* Rain fell for “forty days and forty nights” during the Flood (Genesis 7:4).
* Noah waited for 40 days after the tops of mountains were seen after the flood, before releasing a raven (Genesis 8:5-7).
* Spies were sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan (promised to the children of Israel) for “40 days” (Numbers 13:2, 25).
* The Hebrew people lived in the lands outside of the promised land for “40 years”(Numbers 32:13).
* The prophet Elijah had to walk 40 days and 40 nights before arriving at mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8)
* Before his temptation, Jesus fasted “40 days and 40 nights” in the Judean desert (Matthew 4:2, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2).
* From the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus there were 40 days……(Acts 1:3).
What is the purpose of Lent?
In the words of the Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar, Lent is: “…a liturgical season that is ordered to preparing for the celebration of Easter, both catechumens, by the various stages of Christian initiation, and the faithful, who recall their own Baptism and do penance.”
Other questions answered: When does Lent begin and when does it end? Are Sundays included? What’s with abstinence during Lent? Doesn’t the Church hate sex enough already without forbidding it during Lent? What does the law of abstinence forbid? Did a medieval pope was trying to protect the Italian fishing industry allow fish on Fridays? Is alligator meat seafood?
All these and much more!
Again, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. The season of Lent is an annual opportunity to reset our wills, to grow in self-control, and to let our hunger remind us of the Bread that comes down from heaven, without which we can do NOTHING.
A blessed Lent to you.
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