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Lent

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Lent Tradition

In time the emphasis of the season turned from preparation for baptism to more penitential aspects of penance. The sorrows and sufferings of Christ were shared by the self-denying Christian. Persons guilty of notorious sins spent the time performing public penances. Only at the end of Lent were they publicly reconciled with the Church. During the Middle Ages the sinners were accepted back in an elaborate ceremony.

Then penance came to be associated during this period for common people as well. And Lent became the way of penance. It is good for us to undertake acts of penance in sorrow for our sins, our failure to acknowledge and to love God in Himself, in others, in ourselves. The traditional forms of penance, fast and abstinence, are to be observed according to Church law. The habit of more personal forms of penance is certainly to be encouraged. Not only is penance appropriate as an expression of sorrow for sin, but it also helps us to be less attached to the things of this world. Penance helps us to put things in proper perspective.

The way of Lent is also the way of good works, the way of loving service of others. In his Lenten message for this year, the Holy Father invites us to be particularly attentive to the needs of the homeless.


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