|A Lenten Reflection -by Christina Gleichweit|
Originally the forty days of penance were counted from the eve of the first Sunday of Lent to the hour of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. Then began the Paschal Mystery, to which the forty days were a preparation.
Lent, now consists of two parts, the first, the four days from Ash Wednesday to the First Sunday of Lent, and the thirty six days between then and Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday). The second part of Lent is the time of Passion tide.
The historical significance of the forty days may be traced to the time of Moses representing the Law and Elias the Prophets, only approached God on Sinai and Horeb after purifying themselves by a fast of forty days. (Exodus 24:18, Kings 19:18).
Our Lord, after His Baptism, began to prepare Himself for public life by a fast of forty days in the desert. Here He was tempted by Satan, who wished to discover whether the son of Mary was indeed the Son of God. Satan addressed his first attack to the sense of hunger. In the same way he tries during Lent to make us give up our fasting and mortification through temptations of the flesh.
Next, Satan tries to induce Our Lord to let Himself be carried by angels through the air. Satan tempts us by pride, which is opposed to the spirit of prayer and meditation on God’s word. This is the temptation of pride.
Finally, Satan assures Jesus that he will make Him ruler over all creation. In this way, he tempts us to seek worldly goods, when we should be giving by works of charity and helping our neighbors. This is the temptation of avarice. During Lent, we should live as children of the light, performing actions good, just and true. (cf. Ephesians 5:1-9)
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