Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Illuminated Manuscripts - Lent - Preparing for the Empty Tomb
Ash Wednesday is the 1st day of Lent for Roman Catholics plus most Reformed & Protestant traditions.
Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were afraid. And he saith unto them, Be not afraid: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is arisen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. Mark Chapter 16
The Teutonic word Lent, used to denote the 40 days preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season. During the first 3 centuries after the Resurrection of Christ, there was considerable diversity of practice regarding a fast before Easter and also a gradual process of development in the matter of its duration. An early reference is quoted by Eusebius (Church History V.24) from a letter of St. Irenaeus to Pope Victor in connection with Easter. There Irenaeus says that there is not only a controversy about the time of keeping Easter but also regarding the preliminary fast. "For," he continues, "some think they ought to fast for one day, others for two days, and others even for several, while others reckon forty hours both of day and night to their fast". He also urges that this variety of usage is of ancient date, which implies that there was no Apostolic tradition on the subject.
Clean Monday (or "Ash Monday") is the 1st day of Lent in some Eastern Catholic & Orthodox Churches. There is no Ash Wednesday in the Ambrosian Rite, & Lent begins liturgically on what the Roman Rite regards as 1st Sunday in Lent. Traditionally, the fast began on the1st Monday of Lent.