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LENTEN SEASON

TODAY'S CATECHISM

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WE BEGIN OUR CATECHISM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,

AMEN


TOPIC: LENTEN SEASON


=> INTRODUCTION/DEFINITIONS

=> BRIEF HISTORY

=> LENTEN SEASON

=> ASH WEDNESDAY

=> THREE PILLARS OF LENT

=> CONCLUSION

=> REFERENCE


INTRODUCTION/DEFINITIONS

Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.


Lent is the time of spiritual preparation prior to the Easter season, just as Advent is for Christmas.


Whereas Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross, Lent recalls the events leading up to and including Jesus' crucifixion by Rome. This is believed to have taken place in Roman occupied Jerusalem.


BRIEF HISTORY


Christians honor the 40 days and nights following Christ’s baptism when He went into the wilderness without water and food and was tempted by Satan. During that time, Christ did what we do today when we fast: wrestle with temptation.


A period of preparation and fasting likely has been observed before the Easter festival since apostolic times, though the practice was not formalized until the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. It was a time of preparation of candidates for baptism and a time of penance for sinners. In the early centuries fasting rules were strict, as they still are in Eastern churches. One meal a day was allowed in the evening, and meat, fish, eggs, and butter were forbidden. The Eastern church also restricts the use of wine, oil, and dairy products. In the West these fasting rules have gradually been relaxed.


The strict law of fasting among Roman Catholics was dispensed with during World War II, and only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are now kept as Lenten fast days. However, the emphasis on penitential practice and almsgiving remains, and many Catholics also observe a meatless fast on Fridays during Lent. In addition, Catholics and other Christians often choose to give up specific pleasures, such as sweets, alcohol, or social media, during Lent as a way to foster simplicity and self-control; many use their cravings or desires for these items as a reminder to pray and to refocus on spiritual matters.


LENTEN SEASON

Lent is the time of spiritual preparation prior to the Easter season, just as Advent is for Christmas. Jesus taught us clearly that there is no resurrection without the Cross, and Lent is the Church's great spiritual journey as she, the Bride of Christ, joins her Divine spouse in His great suffering on our behalf.


The name LENT comes from the “Old English lencten springtime, spring” and “from West Germanic langitinaz long-days or lengthening of the day that's when the days begin to get longer”


Basically, you don't get the joy of Easter without the self-sacrifice of Lent; the disciples of Jesus follow in his footsteps . . . including the bloody ones. Here's a rundown of everything major you need to know about the Lenten season, the 40+ days of penance to prepare our hearts Easter, the greatest of all Christian feasts.


Both the eastern and western churches observe Lent but they count the 40 days differently.


The western church excludes Sundays (which is celebrated as the day of Christ's resurrection) whereas the eastern church includes them.


The churches also start Lent on different days.


Western churches start Lent on the 7th Wednesday before Easter Day (called Ash Wednesday).


Eastern churches start Lent on the Monday of the 7th week before Easter and end it on the Friday 9 days before Easter. Eastern churches call this period the 'Great Lent'.


ASH WEDNESDAY


Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.


In the early Christian church, the length of the Lenten celebration varied, but eventually it began 6 weeks (42 days) before Easter. This provided only 36 days of fasting (excluding Sundays). In the 7th century, 4 days were added before the first Sunday in Lent in order to establish 40 fasting days, in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fast in the desert.


Ash Wednesday occurs a day after Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day.


On Pancake Day, as the name suggests, it's customary to eat pancakes and other rich foods in preparation for Lent


Ashes on forehandAsh Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday


THREE PILLARS OF LENT

PRAYER- Prayer accompanies fasting as a historic tradition of Lent. We should pray to improve our communion with God and strengthen our spiritual discipline during the preparation of Easter Sunday.


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." ~ Philippians 4:6


"Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." ~ Matthew 26:41


FASTING - Fasting is a well-known aspect of Lent, inspired by the fast of Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness. Christians partake in fasting to increase their self-control over worldly desires, such as food.


"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" ~ Matthew 4:1-4


ALMS GIVING - Helping others is also a tradition of the Lent season, inspired by the command of Jesus to "love your neighbor as yourself." While we should likewise give to others in love throughout the entire year, an extra emphasis is added during the time of Lent.


"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." ~ Hebrews 13:16


"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." ~ Philippians 2:4


CONCLUSION


Lent is meant to be a time of repentance. That’s not a feeling of shame, but an awareness that sin separates us from God and of what it cost Him to be reunited with us. “Shame has its place, but feeling shame over sin is not the same thing as repentance from sin” because “our tempter can take our obedience to God and turn it into a source of pride.”


"Each year, Lent offers us a providential opportunity to deepen the meaning and value of our Christian lives, and it stimulates us to rediscover the mercy of God so that we, in turn, become more merciful toward our brothers and sisters. In the Lenten period, the Church makes it her duty to propose some specific tasks that accompany the faithful concretely in this process of interior renewal: these are prayer, fasting and almsgiving." —Pope Benedict XVI


REFERENCE


=> The Holy Bible


=> Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)





We have come to a conclusion on the topic LENTEN SEASON

Thanks for your participation, support and contributions. May the God in his infinite mercy continue to be bless and grant you more understanding of his words; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen


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