The First Sunday of Lent
Today's Lenten Moment is taken directly from the writings of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton:
"As some may be surprised to learn, Ash Wednesday is not the beginning of Lent, but only the beginning of the Lenten fast. The liturgical time of Lent begins on the following Sunday, and here the liturgy has a different character. It is more ancient and therefore more objective. The structure of the Sunday Mass is loftier and more noble in its splendidly simple architecture. Nothing is said about how a sinner feels, and the question of any possible conflict between the mercy and justice of God is not raised. All is bathed in the same pure light, the light of the wilderness where Christ the Lord fasts in solitude and is tempted by the devil.
"The dramatic, medieval rites of Ash Wednesday may perhaps make a stronger and more immediate appeal to our feelings. The Mass of the first Sunday, however, leads us deeper into the mystery of Lent, uniting us more profoundly and more directly with the Christ who, praying and fasting in us, will purify us and offer us together with himself to the father in the glory of his Easter victory."