Why Do Catholics Love Lent?


National Catholic Register, 10 March 2017

Pope Francis has been on retreat this week with his collaborators in the Roman Curia. Popes have done so for some 80 years, since Pope Pius XI started the custom of making an annual retreat in common. That it takes place the first full week of Lent seems to make sense.

But why? Why do Catholics — and to be sure, other Christians, especially of the Eastern traditions, both Catholic and Orthodox — readily consider Lent to be the most spiritually fruitful time of the year?

While most of the year is spent in the sadly named “Ordinary Time,” there are four special liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. The longest of them is Easter, at 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, emphasizing that the central reality of being Christian is that we rejoice in Jesus risen from the dead.

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