March, 2017; Page 1


Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. Originally, new converts were not allowed into the church after the offertory until they had been baptized; this was traditionally done at the Easter vigil. To prepare for their baptism, the convert spent a week in fasting and repentance as a preparation. This was later expanded to fasting and repentance for all Christians, and eventually the time was fixed at 40 days (a time period considered as a holy time, e. g. 40 days in the wilderness, etc.). Sundays are not included since they are the weekly celebration of Easter and are thus always feast times.

Fasting means three meals a day with no snacking between, one regular meal and two small ones. Abstinence means no meat or fowl; during Lent this is usually practiced on Wednesdays and Fridays. Many people give up something for Lent as a symbol of their repentance; unfortunately, this has become a means to lose weight or some such thing. I have a suggestion; instead of giving something up, why not take something on? Read passages from the Bible, attend Lenten study, do some special volunteer work.

Have a Holy Lent.

See you in church.