Even the liturgy “fasts” in preparation for the glorious season of Easter.
Why is that?
First of all, the Gloria is a hymn that celebrates the coming of the Lord using words from the angels at Christ’s birth. The Church during Lent returns in spirit to a time when the people of God were in exile, waiting for the Messiah to come and save them. It is a similar season of expectation as is Advent, but instead of awaiting Christ’s birth from the womb of Mary, the Christian people await Christ’s second “birth” from the womb of the sepulcher.
Secondly, following this same spirit of exile, the Church joins Moses and the Israelites as they wander in the desert for 40 years. It is a time of agony and purification, one where the faithful join together in saying, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4) The word “Alleluia” is rooted in a Hebrew expression that means “praise the Lord” and is thus omitted during Lent.
Read more: How to bury the Alleluia before Lent
As a result, our focus in Lent is not in rejoicing, but in mourning our sins, looking at those things that prevent us from an authentic relationship with God. Once these are removed through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we are able to rejoice again at Easter, for it is not only Christ’s resurrection that we celebrate, but our own rebirth in the spirit.
Similar to a woman experiencing labor pangs before birth, so the Christian people “groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?