|The Byzantine rite does *not* have Ash Wednesday, I'm just still a Latin rite gal at heart! |
Hello everyone and holy cow, how is it nearly Lent?! Be the shock as it may, I am still quite excited about the upcoming change in liturgical season, and accompanying traditions.
This past Sunday found us with much anticipation at our Byzantine rite parish, where it was Meatfare Sunday. I knew that this involved a celebration of eating meat prior to giving it up for all of Lent until Easter/Pascha, and wondered if this would involve a parish meal with vats of meat served about? Nope. 😂 Just a reminder that the Great Fast is approaching!
This particular Sunday also featured the Gospel reading of the Last Judgment, which is a precursor to next Sunday, with it's focus on it being Cheesefare (Eastern Christians give up dairy for Lent, too 😬) as well as Forgiveness Sunday. I read about Forgiveness Sunday in a memoir I read recently about an Orthodox congregation. I'll be excited to report in on this next week!
For my part, I have my Lenten devotions, books and icons all planned out, and am rearing to go! I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you here on this blog. Despite my happy exploration of the Byzantine rite, I am still very much a Latin rite Catholic, and thus I will be procuring ashes next week on Ash Wednesday. As I mention in the image caption, the Byzantine rite does not have a tradition of Ash Wednesday. Lent begins for them this coming Monday following Cheesefare Sunday. This day is called Clean Monday, and is officially the start of the Great Fast.
I'm going to be honest and admit that I will not be participating in the full great fasting experience. I just know that it will not be possible to make such a dramatic shift with regards to family meals! However, we will as ever be abstaining from meat on all Fridays of Lent, as well as on Ash Wednesday, and fasting on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (in the Latin rite sense of 1 full meal and 2 smaller ones). I'm also going to try and do my best to incorporate abstaining from meat on all Wednesdays of Lent, so wish me luck on this! My family are meat lovers, to be sure.
What are your plans for this upcoming Ash Wednesday and first week of Lent? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!