We are definitely closing in on the end of Lent. The forty days of Lent (from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday) is actually forty-six calendar days. That's because the days of Lent are supposed to be about prayer, fasting and solemn introspection -- days of penance. However, Sundays are always feast days, always days to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, so they literally do not count as penitential days. A little more confusion exists in that recently (like fifty years ago) the Church calendar re-emphasized the Triduum as a special time in the Church. The Triduum is the three day period from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, which you might consider four days, except that not all of Thursday is counted and the period ends before Sunday is really over. I know, it can be confusing. Worse still, some people argue that the Church did not specify whether or not the Triduum was part of Lent, or if it is considered as a separate season. I think that the people who worry about these things have more piety than they know what do with, but I guess I understand their concern.
This past weekend, our cohort of friends celebrated our annual Passover meal, our annual Seder. We've been doing it now for more than twenty years. It is a liberally (but respectfully) adapted Festival of Unleavened Bread. This is the Jewish custom that Christ and the Apostles gathered together to celebrate the night before Christ was killed -- the Last Supper. For me it marks a turning point in Lent. We now enter Holy Week, the last week before Easter.
I have managed this year to keep to my Lenten resolution, and it has had the effect of keeping me focused on thinking about my relationship with God. That, and Seder, has put me in a good frame of mind to enter Holy Week and consider the magnitude of the events that unfolded two thousand years ago.
Have I achieved my goal of lightening up? That's one of the things I need to think about this week.
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