The season of Lent grew up from early focus on the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter, the time when new members were baptised as adults, with the whole church-community fasting and praying the two or three weeks leading up to the great Feast. The focus was very much on the whole congregation, as it is now with the solemn renewal of our baptism promises at the Easter Masses. In time, when the whole society was Christian and so baptism then of infants, the Lent season became more obviously a time of renewal of a faith already received. The focus was then on doing penance – with the forty days of Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by Satan brought very much to mind. Today once more we have a mixture of both, often with adult converts received into the Church on Easter night, but everyone also doing some ‘penance’ during Lent. The theme of ‘repentance’, a renewed conversion, we might see as asking God for a renewal of our daily commitments, – in home or work or community or study – and praying for a growth in charity.
Pastoral Notes 2nd March, 2014