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Lent

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  • Lent

    Should we observe Lent? Should we not oberve Lent? This extends to any liturgical fast I suppose; I don't think I've heard any reasons FOR except for 1. Self discipline, 2. Tradition. Both good things in my book, but for those who practice it, what does it necessarily entail? Fish on Fridays? No red meat? No meat at all? I don't know a whole lot on the topic. Are there any reasons not to observe Lent? I can think of 1. Rejection of tradition, 2. Rejection of things that seem "Catholic", and 3. Preference for other ways of fasting, and the first two of those don't seem strong at all. Liturgy and lectionaries are very foreign to me, and I assume those who know about Lent know about those so if you want to explain any of that I'd like that.
    Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

  • #2
    Colossians 2
    16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

    Daniel 7
    24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

    Comment


    • #3
      Bookmarking this thread for later.

      As one of the site's resident Papists, I'd be ready and able to discuss the finer points of Lenten theory and practice, but I'm about to head off for work.
      Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

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      • #4
        Do what you like. It's not commanded by Christ but it isn't discouraged either.
        That's what
        - She

        Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
        - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

        I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
        Stephen R. Donaldson

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        • #5
          I think the primary issue with it can be that it takes on a heartless works-religious aspect. When people feel they must do Lent because its what they've been raised to do it, its expected of them, and they feel guilty for not doing it, it breaks down the whole reason for fasting in the first place. Fasting is done, not as mindless ritual duty, but as a purposeful way of taking the focus off ourselves and our circumstances, and putting the focus on God in single minded prayerfulness. Its a form of worship and mindfulness based in humility and self-sacrifice, and this is a thing that was lost on many of my Catholic friends while growing up.

          There's also very specific instructions on how to fast recorded in scripture that are completely and utterly disposed of during Lent and Ash Wednesday. Jesus said, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Declaring that you're going on a fast, and then putting a cross on your forehead with ashes on the first day to symbolize it is exactly contrary to what Jesus taught us. It's fascinating to me how often we see this within Christian history where we're very clearly told to do one thing, and then Christians do the exact opposite. I'm sure there are all sorts of theology and apologetics for why the practices of Lent is somehow different from those things Jesus specifically told his disciples not to do, but still it blows me away.

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          • #6
            Fasting may serve that purpose, but to call Lent a "fast" is a real stretch.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
              Fasting may serve that purpose, but to call Lent a "fast" is a real stretch.
              But the general principle can be cross-applied. Religious observances should not be done for show. Frequently people go out of their way to share what they are giving up for Lent. (I don't have a problem with the actual practice, of course.)
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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              • #8
                Anyone wanna know what the assigned Gospel reading was this past Wednesday?

                http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021815.cfm

                That's right, Adrift. We tell our preachers to explain the very reading you pointed out on the same day we all get the ashes on our foreheads. Though Lent is a visible and, on Ash Wednesday especially, a public practice, we are also reminded that (to put it pithily) it's what's inside that counts
                Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                  Colossians 2: snip

                  Daniel 7 : snip
                  Thank you for sharing the Colossians verses they have a clear relevance even without an explanation, the verses from Daniel are not the ones I would have expected, perhaps something in relation to fasting, but not those ones, are you comparing Roman Catholicism to one of the horns, or kings, or something?

                  Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                  Fasting may serve that purpose, but to call Lent a "fast" is a real stretch.
                  What would you call it then if not a fast? I'm not being accusatory, just curious what you have in mind and how it contrasts against what you would call a real fast.

                  Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                  Do what you like. It's not commanded by Christ but it isn't discouraged either.
                  Party pooper! And all those who amen'd this; party poopers! I didn't want the obvious answer, I wanted discussion.

                  Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                  Snip
                  Good points, thank you.

                  Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                  Snip
                  I've heard complaints about the ash and after having read your link my following questioned doesn't feel answered: How is it different than what the pagans do? Isn't the ash meant to symbolize mourning? Or is it mourning for Jesus; so it's okay? I honestly don't know, please Sparticus Kenobi, you're the only Catholic who's responded so far, (and therefore my only hope of learning an RCC view of Lent.)


                  As an aside, do we have any Protestants who use liturgy for worship or Sunday meetings, or is it just Catholics and Orthodox on this site who do? It's not that late but I've had a long day and am tired so I hope it works that I didn't reread anything I wrote...
                  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pentecost View Post
                    I've heard complaints about the ash and after having read your link my following questioned doesn't feel answered: How is it different than what the pagans do? Isn't the ash meant to symbolize mourning? Or is it mourning for Jesus; so it's okay? I honestly don't know, please Sparticus Kenobi, you're the only Catholic who's responded so far, (and therefore my only hope of learning an RCC view of Lent.)
                    FWIW, the Orthodox have much stricter rules for lenten fasts. They're pretty much vegans for the duration.

                    My earlier post was mostly directed at Adrift; the link was just the officially assigned lectionary reading for Ash Wednesday this year (which is to say, every third year-- we go on a 3-year reading cycle). His most legitimate point is that many Catholics are very poorly catechized, and I know no one who would argue with that point. Yet the fact that many Catholics do Lent wrong doesn't prove that Lent itself is bad.

                    Also noteworthy is the fact that the ashes are not given with any sort of congratulations, but with one of two fairly grim sayings: "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return," or "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel," in neither case is the recipient congratulated for their participation. The ashes are a sign of penitence and our need for Jesus.
                    Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pentecost
                      Thank you for sharing the Colossians verses they have a clear relevance even without an explanation, the verses from Daniel are not the ones I would have expected
                      Colossians says that the Jewish feasts are not binding. Daniel says that in place of the Jewish feasts, the little horn of Rome will think to make up his own laws.

                      What would you call it then if not a fast?
                      Not eating food. The closest kind of "fast" to Lent would be where Daniel cuts out every single type of pleasant food, and even that is more severe than just cutting out one thing. Lent is not a fast in any sense.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                        Also noteworthy is the fact that the ashes are not given with any sort of congratulations, but with one of two fairly grim sayings: "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return," or "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel," in neither case is the recipient congratulated for their participation. The ashes are a sign of penitence and our need for Jesus.
                        I don't think the issue is really that ashes will bring praise or congratulations. If the ashes are to remind us that we're nothing but filthy sinners, its still contrary to the command, "do not look somber".

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                          I don't think the issue is really that ashes will bring praise or congratulations. If the ashes are to remind us that we're nothing but filthy sinners, its still contrary to the command, "do not look somber".
                          For the last couple years at least, the tag "#ashtag" has trended on social media, with people posting pictures of themselves with ashes on their foreheads. Look a few of those pictures up and tell me whether they look somber. Do they look like they're about to begin any sort of 40-day fast?
                          Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've looked at our Lord's warning as against "showing off" how holy one is being. So...having ashes on the forehead...could be like shaving your head for a vow, like Paul did in obedience to a law, or it could be a badge of what a good person you're being. Attitude counts.
                            Last edited by DesertBerean; 02-20-2015, 02:01 PM. Reason: clarified point about shaving
                            Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DesertBerean View Post
                              I've looked at our Lord's warning as against "showing off" how holy one is being. So...having ashes on the forehead...could be like shaving your head for a vow, like Paul did in obedience to a law, or it could be a badge of what a good person you're being. Attitude counts.

                              Comment

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