FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

20 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LENT

I find this article fascinating and would like to share this with all of you. It’s from https://www.thefactsite.com/lent-facts/  I edited some of it to be consistent with Catholic teaching. – FR. ADRIAN

Here we’re going to look at 20 interesting facts about Lent!

  1. Lent is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting. Sundays aren’t included in the 40-day count.

  2. Since Sundays aren’t included, Lent technically lasts 46 days.
  3. When Lent started, it was only 36 days. Later, it was changed to 40 days.
  4. Why is Lent 40 days? The number 40 is a significant number for Christians. Jesus spent 40 days in a desert. Noahhad to wait 40 days for his ark to float. And Moses, along with his followers, traveled through the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.
  5. Catholics started the tradition of Lent around the year 325, during the Council of Nicea, but it has spread through other Christian denominations.
  6. Lent comes from the Middle English word “lencten,” which means springtime.
  7. Lent starts on what’s known as Ash Wednesday. This is when followers spread ashes on their forehead to signal their repentance. The ashes come from burning last year’s palms that were distributed on Palm Sunday.
  8. One of Lent’s central components is fasting. New Orleans throws a huge party called Mardi Gras on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, aka “Fat Tuesday”. People party in the streets and get fat since they should be fasting and abstaining during Lent.
  9. In the Catholic tradition, no eating meat from any warm-blooded animal during Lent.
  10. You CAN eat fish or other cold-blooded animals, which is why you see fast-food restaurants have sales for their fish sandwiches during Lent.
  11. Besides not eating meat, Christians also abstain themselves from certain vices, whether it’s chocolate or TV or video games or other pleasurable activities. In a sort of paradoxes, some even abstain from sex for 40 days, even though Christians are told to “go forth and multiply.”
  12. Prayer (a deeper one such as retreats and days of prayer) is another common practice for those practicing Lent. This, along with fasting, helps Christians stay centered in Christ.
  13. Purple is the official color of Lent, as this represents mourning for Jesus dying on the cross while also celebrating his resurrection with the colors of royalty.
  14. Lent doesn’t actually end on Easter; it ends on Holy Thursday, the day Jesus had the Last Supper where He instituted Priesthood and the Eucharist (The Mass). Good Friday is when Jesus died on the cross, and on Easter Sunday, he rose from the dead.
  15. All Catholics aged 18 to 59 FAST ONLY TWICE during Lent – on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics aged 14 and above ABSTAIN FROM MEAT (pork, chicken, beef) every Friday of Lent and all Fridays of the whole year. Outside Lent, however, one may substitute other formsof penance, especiallyworks of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast. (Cf. Canon Law 1249-1253)

  16. This is also a time for more charity. Catholics have given more than $250 million to feed the hungry during Lent.
  17. The date for Easter has been set for thousands of years. It all has to do with the full moon of the Paschal or Passover full moon. Easter will fall between March 22 and April 25. There are mathematical formulas used to determine when Easter will fall in any year.
  18. Because we know the date for every Easter from now until the end of time, we also know the date Lent starts. Just count 46 days (include Sundays) or 40 days (excluding Sundays) from Easter, and you know when Ash Wednesday is.
  19. Medieval Lenten rules were harder including black fasts; no food at all on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. No animal meat or fats. Fish was allowed. No eggs. No dairy products. Wine and beer were allowed. Medieval Catholics subsisted on bread, vegetables and salt. No sexual intercourse and no Sundays off from fasting and abstinence.
  20. 20. In a study done in 2014, 72% of adults knew what Lent was, and 88% of those participating in Lent were giving up some item of food for 40 days. Chocolate was the number one food most people were willing to give up during Lent.
FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

FR. ADRIAN’S CORNER, ST. LINUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, NORWALK, CA

THE DISCIPLINE OF LENT

February 26th, this Wednesday is ASH WEDNESDAY! Let us review the BASICS why we dive into Lent and Easter, the central seasons of our Faith.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until the afternoon of Maundy Thursday. Maundy is from the Latin “mandatum” which means command, Our Lord’s command to love one another by “washing each other’s feet”.  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday comprise the Paschal Triduum, the three-day preparation for the celebration of Easter.

The KEY to understanding Lent is simple: Baptism. Preparation for Baptism and for renewing baptismal commitment lies at the heart of the season. Since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Church has re-emphasized the baptismal character of Lent, especially through the restoration of the Catechumenate and its Lenten rituals. Christ wants to lead us back to our baptismal promises of dying to sin and of living for God.

WHY 40 DAYS? The 40 days (excluding Sundays for they always commemorate Easter, The Resurrection) of fasting, prayer and penitence before Easter reflect two accounts: the 40 years of wandering by the Israelites and Our Lord Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness at which point He was victorious against the temptations of the devil.

THE 3 PILLARS OF LENT. Most of us think of something to GIVE UP during Lent. Why not have a paradigm shift, a conversion moment? Instead, GIVE SOMETHING HOLY to the Lord and our neighbor! It is better (and holy) to eat chocolate during Lent and be more prudent and loving with our words! 😉 “It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” (Matthew 15:11)

  1. PRAYER: Give the Lord your TIME. Aside from Holy Mass, visit or better, be a committed adorer of Our Lord in our Perpetual Adoration chapel. Begin with 5-10 minutes once a week. Just be present, savor the sacred moment and listen, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). You will be surprised that you desire more “like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is thirsting for you, my God!” (Cf. Psalm 42:1-6). Adoration is a powerful loving encounter of “presences” where God gives us extra presents of grace, fruits of our dialogue with Him. This is deeper prayer and is guaranteed life changing!
  2. FASTING AND ABSTINENCE. Share in the sufferings of Jesus who “emptied Himself and took the form of a slave” (Philippians 2:7). Discipline ourselves in loving God with OUR ALL (the heart, the mind, the hands and the stomach!) Days of Fasting AND Abstinence are only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is for Catholics ages 18-59 to take 1 regular meal and 2 small meals, added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. ALL FRIDAYS OF LENT are days of Abstinence (for ages 14 and older). No meat (i.e., flesh and organs of mammals and fowls). Fish, shellfish are allowed. “How can I repay the Lord for His goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:12) Why not broaden and deepen the meaning of fasting and abstinence by being more patient, forgiving and vigilant against occasions of sin? Fast from hurting words and say kind words. Fast from Facebook and devote to pray the Rosary (better as a family). Fast from eating out on Fridays and be with the parish community in our Lenten Dinner and pray the Stations of the Cross.
  3. ALMSGIVING (WORKS OF MERCY). “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) “Faith without good works is dead.” (James 2:17) “I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.” (Our Lord of Divine Mercy to St. Faustina. Diary #742)

Corporal Works of Mercy: feed the hungry,give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked,shelter the homeless,visit the prisoners, comfort the sick, bury the dead. (Cf. Matthew 25:31-46)

Spiritual Works of Mercy: instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead

We are not only to receive the mercy of God but to use it by being merciful to others through our actions, words and prayers. It is a mark of living faith to grow in and practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. The works of mercy are from Our Lord’s words Himself teaching us (and warning us) that we shall be judged according to how much we have been merciful, “Whatsoever you do to the least, you do unto Me.” (Matthew 25:40)