February 16, 2021 | Miles Christi
The season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday: “The days of penance have come: let us expiate our sins and save our souls,” the Church prayed on that day. Its name — Quadragésima in Latin — refers to the canonical penance that was practiced from the fourth to the sixth century in Rome. At the beginning of Lent, sinners who acknowledged their sin entered to form part of the “order of penitents” and thus performed forty days of pious practices, such as rigorous fasting, abstinence from meat, and almsgiving, preparing themselves for the great reconciliation of Holy Thursday. When this kind of public penance disappeared, Lent preserved its penitential meaning, so that the entire Christian people, in preparation for the Holy Triduum, would submit themselves to privations, fasts, and other ascetic practices, imploring the mercy of God over their innumerable sins.
Therefore, in order to obtain the fruits proper to this Season, let us intensify our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, in order to celebrate Holy Week with greater fruit and fervor. In particular, let us more frequently approach the Sacrament of Penance with confidence, and with a firm desire to change in a serious way. It is also very profitable to pray the Vía Crucis (Way of the Cross) on Fridays, in anticipation of the events of Good Friday. Finally, let us multiply our works of charity towards our neighbor, for example, by giving more generously to apostolic works, or by visiting some person who is ill. There are many ways to take advantage of this season! Do not let Lent go by in vain.