January 14th, 2018 – Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Penitential Psalms

After the discussion about Lent, I figured I would come home and learn all I need to know about it from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. What a surprise to find that the word only shows up three times in that 688 page book. Be careful about clicking on the underlined words in the Catechism excerpts. They are all hot links to the Vatican Catechism! Well, maybe try one just to see what happens.

  1. It appears in Paragraph 540 about the Mysteries of Christ’s Life with particular reference to His Temptation.

540 – Jesus‘ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiahcontrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him.244 This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.”245 By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.

  1. Then it appears in Paragraph 1095 in a section about The Liturgy – Work of the Holy Trinity

1095 – For this reason the Churchespecially during Advent and Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the “today” of her liturgy. But this also demands that catechesis help the faithful to open themselves to this spiritual understanding of the economy of salvation as the Church‘s liturgy reveals it and enables us to live it.

  1. And finally in Paragraph 1438 in a section on The Many Forms of Penance in Christian Life.

1438 – The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church‘s penitential practice.36 These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercisespenitential liturgiespilgrimages assigns of penancevoluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

The first and third clearly associate Lent with periods of special penance while the second associates Lent with our remembrance of Salvation History but says nothing in particular about Lenten practices. And there was one other occasion of “lent” showing up but it was not capitalized and had to do with our treatment of goods “lent” to someone.

To learn more about the origin and evolution of Lenten practices, I turned to that giant catalog in the sky.

Here is the Catholic View from The Catholic Education Resource Center.

And here is the view from Wikipedia  I don’t see any serious conflict between the two and found both interesting places to look and see what I have forgotten.

Research on the Biblical use of 40 to describe length of time, years, months, or days, indicates that some scholars see that not as literal but as meaning either a long time or long enough.

Here is a Link to a separate post I did on the Seven Penitential Psalms.

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