Wednesday, March 9, 2011

XT3 - Lenten Calendar

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Masses are at 8:40 AM (All School), 12:05 PM, and 5:30 PM all in St. Landry Catholic Church.

The website XT3 is a website that links Catholics who participate in World Youth Day events all over the world. This year, they've added a Lenten Calendar that is updated on a daily basis.

See it at and add it to your list of favorites on your computer.

Today, Ash Wednesday, the calendar has a link to a reflection on Lent by Cardinal George Pell. You can watch the video or read the transcript by clicking here:

Some highlights from his talk ... first about Ash Wednesday:

Lent is the period of fasting leading up to the period of Easter, recalling Jesus' 40-day fast in the wilderness. Ash Wednesday signifies the start of Lent and on this day, ashes are blessed, mixed with either holy oil or water, and marked on the head with the sign of the cross, or sprinkled on the forehead. The ashes are made from burnt palm branches blessed the previous year on Palm Sunday.

When the priest imposes the ashes he says either "remember man you are dust, and to dust you will return" (see Genesis 3:19), or "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).

The ashes serve a dual purpose. First, we are reminded of our mortality and humanity as we begin the Lenten Fast. Second, the ashes are a Biblical symbol of repentance, sorrow, and humility. There are many cases in the Scriptures of wearing ashes as a sign of penitence.
And about Fasting on Ash Wednesday:

Fasting: The Western Rite of the Catholic Church requires its members age 18 to 59 to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, unless a physical condition prevents otherwise. This means only one full meal is permitted. The Fridays of Lent are days of required abstinence, meaning meat, and soups or gravies made of meat, are not permitted. Abstinence is required of those age 14 and older. Some give up things they have an inordinate desire for, e.g. sweets, caffeine, etc. By giving these up, the person learns to control a particular part of his or her life, which leads to greater self-discipline even when Lent is over. As such in Lent we are able to learn, examine, and get under control our material excesses. Whatever you decide to fast from, remember "Lent is more than a diet." Lent is about spiritual results, not material ones. So, while losing a few pounds may be a nice side benefit, all fasting should be done for God's glory and spiritual growth.