In either case, both point to Christ is the ordering of time and space. Jesus is the Lord of history and His singular work of Redemption and Resurrection is the pivot point.
To enter more fully into these great mysteries, 40 days in commemoration of the Lord’s temptation and victory in the desert, 40 days of Noah in the ark, 40 years of wandering in the desert by the Hebrews, allows the pious Christian to meditate on what our salvation cost.
Sundays are not counted in Lent as they are a joyous reminder of the Resurrection.
The Sundays preceding Ash Wednesday in the traditional calendar serve to remind the faithful of the upcoming cycle and to make suitable preparations for it.
Communally, Ash Wednesday is the day where all Christians come to mark the season of penance with ashes on their foreheads.
It is not a Holy Day of Obligation but if missed (in the past serious reason) Lent never seemed to step off correctly.
Lent is the time for us to enter into the battle over those areas Christ is not king.
1 Jn 2:15-17 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.
Without Christ we are slaves to the devil, flesh and the world. By entering into the reality of sin and its severe consequences, we can better appropriate the merits of Christ to ourselves.
The merits of Christ meditate on those merits especially the last week of Passiontide. Church 2 millennia 1 full week to meditate on His sufferings. Add the 3 weeks prior, Church great effort to lead the faithful to meditate on Our Lord suffering.
Christ became sin, took on every sin past, present, future at that moment far from God in this manner, merits to be gained so profound.
Few today with happy clappy feel good consider this cost.
This spiritual understanding naturally leads to better physical and relational effects.
EX/ Eph 4:22-24 22 Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul says as a new man, immorality, debauchery, covetousness, wasting of time has no place in a Christian life.
Eph 5:15-18 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery
Lent is not a self-help moment. It is an entering into the reality of sin, my inability to do anything about it, the gracious mercy of the Lord in my wretched situation and elevating me to be a daughter of the Father. Not self-help.
My part is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit within me. To have a lively sacramental life, avoid sin, do the spiritual and corporal works of mercy as my station in life permits.
This life is a happy life. A Christian life is free of debt, marriages are intact, children respect parents, truthfulness is the norm, sin is confessed, time for prayer is eagerly sought. This is a lofty vision but one worth the effort.
World ready to take burdens with none of commensurate joys.
Follow minute requirements of fast & abstinence along with feast moderates desires.
Self-help, exercise more, lose weight not the focus of Lent.
Ashes made from blessed palms used on Palm Sunday year before, christened with holy water, and exposed to incense. It is a day of abstinence (from meat) and fasting.
Maronite Liturgy Ash Monday, bring palms last year to make ashes. Anglican memory as well. Kept the palms, Ashes, origin & telos connected.
Northern VA Mardi Gras parish party ended with burning of palms make the ashes. Watch and participate.
Mass Holy Thursday beginning of the Triduum, palms burned, tomorrow I fast.