From the March, 2009 issue of Touchstone

The Making of Lent by William J. Tighe

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The Making
of Lent

On the Origins of the (More or Less) Forty-Day Fast by William J. Tighe

What is Lent and what is its purpose in the Christian year? Most Christians would probably give an answer along these lines: It is a 40-day period of fasting and ascetic effort—or at least of heightened religious awareness—by which Christians prepare for the annual celebration of Christ’s passion, death, and Resurrection in Holy Week and Easter. Others might add that it is also a time when converts are prepared for their baptism or reception into the Church at Easter. And a few more might say that it is the Church’s corporate imitation of Christ’s 40-day f . . .


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