‘Lent... is the time of salvation par excellence not only for catechumens and penitents, but for the faithful as well. The catechumens attain their goal in baptism on Holy Saturday, the penitents theirs in the reconciliation of Holy Thursday. Lent is designed to aid them in preparing. And through daily Mass the faithful have the divine life within them enriched and perfected. By Holy Thursday they should be free from all sin and cleansed of guilt so as to appear in the full maturity and perfection of grace on Holy Saturday.
I view Lent, indeed the whole Easter cycle, from the approach of a life filled with God. The Christmas cycle was dominated by the idea of the kingdom of God, a kingdom that was expected during Advent and established at Christmas and Epiphany. Dominating the Easter cycle, however, is the theme of supernatural life engendered, renewed, and perfected’.
from The Church’s Year of Grace, 1953, by Pius Parsch, 1884-1954
Dr Parsch says of the image: ‘The design summarises the main thoughts of [Ash Wednesday] well. At the bottom we see the first sad Ash Wednesday, when God said to Adam and Eve: You are dust, and to dust you will return. Death would be their lot. The middle section shows the station church of Saint Sabina; the two soldiers remind us that we are entering upon the great battle of Lent. Our efforts should bear fruit in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Above, a monk is sitting, one who “meditates upon the law of God day and night” (Psalm 1). He is a figure of what we should be doing during Lent. We cast the anchor of our little storm-tossed boat around the Cross, putting all our trust in God’s mercy. Already the fruit of our Lenten efforts is ripening’.
Fr Lee Kenyon