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Lent and Holy Week: Chapters on Catholic Observance and Ritual

Lent and Holy Week: Chapters on Catholic Observance and Ritual

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  • ISBN-13: 9781482527391
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Release Date: Feb 12, 2013
  • Pages: 502 pages
  • Dimensions: 1.14 x 9.00 x 6.00 inches


THE volume which is here presented to the reader does not, I think, require any lengthy introduction. Its chief purpose is to supply a popular account of those external observances by which the season of paschal preparation is marked off from the rest of the ecclesiastical year. Although a devotional conception has not been excluded, the writer's principal object has been to touch upon points of historical and liturgical interest, points which often bring us into immediate relation with the practice of the early Christian centuries. The discipline of fasting, the lenten liturgy, and in particular the ceremonies of Holy Week, have all been treated with some degree of fulness, while an attempt has also been made to trace the history of certain devotions of more recent date, such as the Quarant' Ore and the 'Three Hours.' The book is not in any way controversial. Although written from a Catholic standpoint, it does not pretend to do more than supply a plain statement of liturgical facts, such as would be accepted by the more scientific students of every communion. The volume is more bulky than I had intended, and it would of course have been easily possible to make it many times longer than it is; but it seemed necessary to keep within reasonable limits, and with the exception of an occasional reference, such as that, for instance, to Easter eggs and pancakes on p. 476, or the flowering of the graves on p. 209, I have thought it better to refrain from the tempting theme of Volksgebrauche. For a similar reason, ceremonies now obsolete have not as a rule been discussed at any great length. If the account given of the Easter Sepulchre might seem to be an exception, the intimate connexion of that rite with the existing Quarant' Ore, as well as its relation to the early history of the drama, (see page 457), may perhaps be deemed sufficient justification. “IF we would understand the full significance of the great Resurrection Feast, we must not merely study the liturgy of the eight days which follow Palm Sunday, but we must begin further back and pass in review the incidents of the long penitential season which serves as an introduction to the whole. What Holy Week is to Easter, that Lent is to Holy Week. Just as the meaning of Easter will only be fully comprehended by one who has tried to enter into the spirit of the days which precede, so the solemnities of Holy Week form both the climax and the justification of the change of ritual introduced nearly two months earlier.” This work is an excellent preparation for Easter during Lent.

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