Dear St Michael Family,
Lent begins this Wednesday, March 6 – Ash Wednesday. For 40 days, we will be reminded that God delights in the conversion of a sinner, and that His mercy is ready for anyone who repents. This season reminds us also of the Holy Words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke 5:32: "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Lent officially ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, April 18, with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
What is Lent?
You may hear some say “The word ‘Lent’ isn’t in the Bible!” Well, the word “Bible” isn’t in the Bible, either! So what we’re really asking is what is the origin of the name. Originally, “Lent” was nothing more than the English name of the season between winter and summer, the season when the snow melts and the flowers bloom. In German, “Lenz” is the poetic word for “spring.” In Dutch, the word “lente” is still the name of the season between winter and summer, and it is still used with that meaning in everyday life.
The church observance took place during the season of lent. In England, “Lent” came to mean the observance rather than the season, leaving the season without a name. Instead of saying redundant things like “Lent happens during lent,” English-speaking people invented the word “spring.” Today, instead of calling the seasons winter, lent, and summer, we call them winter, spring, and summer. We use “Lent” instead of “spring” when we refer to the church season.
Purpose of Lent
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for Baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days.
Where Did the Ashes Come From?
If you read the Old Testament attentively, you’ll find that people commonly put on sackcloth and ashes when they heard very bad news, and they continued to wear them while they were in distress (see Esther 4:1). The ashes on Ash Wednesday continue this ancient custom.
Fasting and Abstaining from Meat
Every person 14 years or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.
Every person between the age of 18 and 59 (beginning of 60th year) must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Parish Lent Study
If you have not yet registered for Priest, Prophet, King, our parish lent study that will deliver weekly videos to you via email or text, please do so. The first video will deliver Friday, March 8. Registration is free!
In English text keyword FrCarl to 84576.
In Spanish text keyword PadreCarl to 202-765-3441
Get daily videos during Lent from esteemed Scripture expert Dr. Tim Gray, delivered right to your email inbox. Register free here.
May you grow closer to Christ this season.