“Every year we celebrate Easter, the greatest and most shining feast.”
-St. John Chrysostom
The Lenten Liturgy has references to joy, not only because it’s a preparation for Easter, the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also because purification through prayer and fasting brings special delight to the soul.
Thinking of Lent as a time of joy, not only a time of penance, is not a new idea. Gregory the Great, who was pope at the turn of the sixth century, emphasized the theme of joy during Lent. He spoke of the two-fold path before us: the way of death that leads to misery, and the way of life that leads to joy. He used the Psalms (1:1-2) to make his point: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked… but their delight is in the law of the Lord.
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