February 17, 2012

Catechism Corner

What the catechism says about Lent

The season of Lent is mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in various sections.

It is brought up in #540 in the section that explains Christ’s public ministry.

In #1095, Lent is discussed in regard to the way in which the Church, especially in its liturgy, sees Christ prefigured in various ways in the Old Testament.

Finally, in #1438, the penitential nature of Lent is discussed in the section on the sacrament of reconciliation.

#540 “Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him (see Mt 16:21-23).

“This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: ‘For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning’ (Heb 4:15). By the solemn forty days of Lent, the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.”

#1095 “… the Church, especially during Advent and Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the ‘today’ of her liturgy. But this also demands that catechesis help the faithful to open themselves to this spiritual understanding of the economy of salvation as the Church’s liturgy reveals it and enables us to live it.”

#1438 “The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice.

“These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing [charitable and missionary works].”

(To read the Catechism of the Catholic Church online, log on to www.usccb.org/catechism/text.)

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