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The Holy Season of Lent

November 15, 2010 | Author: | Posted in Liturgical Calendar, The Season of Lent

Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., on Lent

The Holy Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It is the yearly celebration by the Church of her corporate conversion in Christ. During this season, the liturgy prepares catechumens for their christian initiation, and prepares the faithful for Easter by encouraging them to do penance as they approach the GREATEST FEAST OF THE YEAR.

Purpose of Lent:
– recalls baptism or prepares for it
– it emphasizes a spirit of penance

Through forty (40) days of close attention to God’s word, more fervent prayer, acts of self-denial and charity, believers are prepared to celebrate the paschal mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

Fasting and Abstinence

All Christ’s faithful are obliged by divine law to do penance. In order to assist Catholics to fulfill this obligation the Church prescribes that penance be done on certain days.

According to the current discipline of the Church, the penitential character of Lent is to be maintained; the weekdays of Lent are special days of penance for the Church throughout the world.

Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of the year are days of abstinence from meat. The law is binding on all Catholics 14 years and older. The faithful may substitute some other act of piety or charity on Fridays.

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are also days of fast for those between 18 and 59 years of age inclusive. Traditionally on days of fast only one full meal may be taken. The other two meals should not equal another full meal.

Parents are reminded of their duty to teach their children the meaning of penance and encourage them to make sacrifices appropriate to their age.

Suggested Lenten Penances

During this Holy Season, penance must be considered an important requirement of the Christian life involving prayer, self-denial and charity. While the heart of penance is hatred of sin as an offense against God, external forms of penance are needed to deepen and foster the internal virtues.

Prayer:
– more regular daily prayer
– grace at meals
– daily Mass
– family rosary
– Stations of the Cross
– visits to the Blessed Sacrament
– spiritual reading or listening

Self-Denial:
– abstaining from certain food we enjoy or forms of entertainment
– giving up snacks, eating in between meals, dessert
– reducing the amount we eat
– more careful observance of Friday as a day of abstinence from meat
– giving up smoking, alcohol, movies, a favourite TV program, computer games

Charity:
– begins at home
– visiting the sick
– volunteer work at a hospital
– increased sacrificial giving to the Church and ShareLife
– help the poor in the community through the St. Vincent de Paul Society

Songs and Videos

Jesus of Nazareth – I Can Only Imagine:

Open The Eyes Of My Heart Lord:

 

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