Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Lenten Season at a glance

CMN OFFICE, Manila, April 21, 2011-As Filipinos who have high values of religious traditions in celebrating the Holy Week, I encourage you to remember the brief history of it where most of us celebrate it in total solemnity.

Historian said that the Lenten season preceding Easter goes back to the time of the Apostles. It was a long, long time ago where the length of time varied. But according to the council of Nicea (325 A.D.) which was the first general Council of the Church, the lent is being observed for forty days.

It was said that we celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon or the first vernal equinox (day and night sharing equal length). This was agreed upon by the church leaders of Nicea (325 A.D.); thus, this day can be either from March 22nd till April 25th.

Biblical history said that it observed the forty days fasts of Moses, Elijah and especially Our Lord in the desert. The observance of fast was very strict during the early days of the Church. It is said that one meal was allowed per day and, even in that meal, meat and fish were forbidden. By the fifteenth century, the one meal was taken at noon. Steadily an extra collation was allowed in the evening and that happened gradually.

In the recent legislation of Canon Law, all Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the universal Church (Canon 1250). Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Canon 1251).

The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, the products of milk or condiments made of animal fat. The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening according to the apostolic constitution of Pope Paul VI (1966).

The observance of fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended by the Church, although it is not strictly obligatory where it applies to the Marian Catechists.

One statement that is new in the Code of Canon Law declares that pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast (eighteenth year completed) and abstinence (fourteenth year completed) are educated in an authentic sense of penance (Canon 1252). In an authentic sense of penance, the said provision applies to Marian Catechists who are in a position to educate young people.

The holy week commemorates the death by cruxification of Jesus Christ as only the devoutly Catholic vows for God. This will start on ash Wednesday that paternized the lunar calendar of Romans to be followed by palm Sunday, adding that the holy week called with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and it will end on Easter Sunday. (Jason de Asis)


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