Today, in the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite, is the beginning of Passiontide. It is known as Iudica Sunday, from the first word of the Introit of Mass, from Ps 42 (41).

The following is from Father John Zuhlsdorf’s outstanding blog with our gratitude:

“We lose things during Lent. We are being pruned through the liturgy. Holy Church experiences liturgical death before the feast of the Resurrection. The Alleluia goes on Septuagesima. Music and flowers go on Ash Wednesday. Today, statues and images are draped in purple. That is why today is sometimes called Repus Sunday, from repositus analogous to absconditus or “hidden”, because this is the day when Crosses and other images in churches are veiled. The universal Church’s Ordo published by the Holy See has an indication that images can be veiled from this Sunday, the 5th of Lent. Traditionally Crosses may be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday and images, such as statues may be covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil. At my home parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN, the large statue of the Pietà is appropriately unveiled at the Good Friday service. 

“Also, as part of the pruning, as of today in the older form of Mass, the “Iudica” psalm in prayers at the foot of the altar and the Gloria Patri at the end of certain prayers was no longer said. “The pruning cuts more deeply as we march into the Triduum. After the Mass on Holy Thursday the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the main altar, which itself is stripped and bells are replaced with wooden noise makers. On Good Friday there isn’t even a Mass. At the beginning of the Vigil we are deprived of light itself! It is as if the Church herself were completely dead with the Lord in His tomb. This liturgical death of the Church reveals how Christ emptied Himself of His glory in order to save us from our sins and to teach us who we are. 

“The Church then gloriously springs to life again at the Vigil of Easter. In ancient times, the Vigil was celebrated in the depth of night. In the darkness a single spark would be struck from flint and spread into the flames. The flames spread through the whole Church. 

“If we can connect ourselves in heart and mind with the Church’s liturgy in which these sacred mysteries are re-presented, then by our active receptivity we (who are baptized and in a state of grace) become participants in the saving mysteries of Christ’s life, death and resurrection . . . 

“As we march into Passiontide, keep close in your thoughts the wonderful thing our Lord accomplished for us. He has offered us freedom from the bonds of our sins and opened the way to heaven.” 

We wish each of you a most blessed and holy Passiontide as we await the Resurrection of the One who died and rose that we might live. 

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B. 

The Season of Lent

Remember man thou art dust

and to dust thou shalt return

Oh Beloved, I don’t know that I’ll ever get over it – believing, that is – being Catholic – having been led into all that Judaism promised and into the full measure of Christianity, the fullness of all that Our Blessed Savior has given us this side of Heaven.

Having journeyed through 18 years of a fervent Evangelical Protestantism, I was quite floored at the response of many Catholics who bemoaned having to attend Church on Sunday because it was their obligation. “Obligation?” I thought to myself. How could you keep a Catholic away?! It’s a chore to go to Church? . . . to go to the One Who loved us and gave Himself for us??

Then came my first Lent as a Catholic (there was no recognition of Lent in my non-denominational experience). I began to hear, from Catholics, the language of “dread,” of “giving things up,” of suffering through this season.

How on earth, I thought? Do those who dread this season of fasting, penance and prayer have any true knowledge or understanding of the privilege Our Lord has given us in inviting us to share in His very sufferings, in His 40-day fast in the wilderness while experiencing every temptation that the devil would throw on Him – and which God allowed and purposed Him to go through?

For me, dear ones, now after almost 23 years a Catholic, and for our community of sisters, it is a blessed, prayerful, and, please God, transformative time, a time filled with the certainty of Our Savior’s love and of His call for us to be in the world and not of it, to grow deeper into union with Him, and to console that “Heart that so loved the world and is so little loved in return.”

For those who may wish a fuller understanding of or refresher on the history and customs of this blessed season leading all the way to the Resurrection of the Passover Lamb, I would refer you the wonderful article (complete with recipes) from the website below.

From all of us here at the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, we wish you and your loved ones a most holy and blessed journey through the awful wilderness with the Son of God made Man.

Mother Miriam and Daughters


Lenten Overview

Theme:Christ in the Desert, the Babylonian Captivity continued from Septuagesima
Symbols:Cross, crown of thorns, three nails, Chalice, Host
Length:Ash Wednesday to Vespers of Holy Saturday

Lent (the word “Lent” comes from the Old English “lencten,” meaning “springtime) lasts from Ash Wednesday to the Vespers of Holy Saturday — forty days + six Sundays which don’t count as “Lent” liturgically. The Latin name for Lent, Quadragesima, means forty and refers to the forty days Christ spent in the desert which is the origin of the Season.The last two weeks of Lent are known as “Passiontide,” made up of Passion Week and Holy Week. The last three days of Holy Week — Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday –are known as the “Sacred Triduum.”

The focus of this Season is the Cross and penance, penance, penance as we imitate Christ’s forty days of fasting, like Moses and Elias before Him, and await the triumph of Easter. We fast (see below), abstain, mortify the flesh, give alms, and think more of charitable works. Awakening each morning with the thought, “How might I make amends for my sins? How can I serve God in a reparative way? How can I serve others today?” is the attitude to have.

We meditate on “The Four Last Things”: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, and we also practice mortifications by “giving up something” that would be a sacrifice to do without. The sacrifice could be anything from desserts to television to the marital embrace, and it can entail, too, taking on something unpleasant that we’d normally avoid, for example, going out of one’s way to do another’s chores, performing “random acts of kindness,” etc. A practice that might help some, especially small children, to think sacrificially is to make use of “Sacrifice Beads” in the same way that St. Thérèse of Lisieux did as a child.

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