Monday, February 15, 2010

A Calendar, Ash Wednesday, and Other Things

A calendar lets you know the times and seasons, the days and the months; but some calendars deliver other assorted bits of information.

Working in a chiefly RC bookstore, I find odd tidbits of information in the strangest of places - calendars. While browsing a diary style calendar, I noticed that is had a number of entries of the "Did You Know" type. I present the following for your consideration.

A. Did you know...
"The Sundays of Lent are considered "Little Easters;" no fasting or penance is necessary on these days. Since Lent has six Sundays, the season is 46 days long in order to assure the full forty days' penance."

And how is this done? With six weeks having only six days of penance (fasting), you have only 36 days during Lent. Where do the other four come in? They start on Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday make up the additional days, for a total of 40.
Add the six Lenten Sundays to the 40 days of fasting and you have 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

B. Did you know ...
The Easter Octave is a privileged octave. No other feast or commemoration is permitted during the octave. Therefore, the Friday in the Easter Octave is not a day of penance (fasting). (Actually, the same holds true the the Pentecost Octave, but this calendar failed to mention it.)

C. Did you know ...
The practice of substituting the recitation of Psalms or the giving of alms for a portion of the penitential fast is sanctioned in the Irish Synod of 807, which says that the fast of the second day of the week may be 'redeemed' by singing one Psalter or by giving a dinarius to a poor person.

D. Did you know ...
The edict of Milan (315 AD) made Christianity legal in Rome; but it did not become the official faith of the empire until 379 AD.

E. Did you know ...
When water from the Jordan River is used in the ritual for baptism, the blessing over the water is omitted; Jesus blessed it already by permitting himself to be baptized there.

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