THE FORTY DAYS OF LENT
The Lenten journey of forty days...will lead us to the Easter Triduum, the memorial of the passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord, heart of the mystery of our salvation. It is a favorable time when the Church invites Christians to have a keener awareness of the redeeming work of Christ and to live their baptism in greater depth.
Indeed, in this liturgical season, the people of God from the earliest times have drawn abundant nourishment from the word of God to strengthen their faith, reviewing the entire history of creation and redemption. With its forty-day duration, Lent has an indisputably evocative power. Indeed, it intends to recall some of the events that marked the life and history of ancient Israel, presenting its paradigmatic value anew also to us. We think, for example, of the forty days of the great flood that led to God's covenant with Noah, and, hence, with humanity, and of the forty days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai, after which he was given the tablets of the law.
The Lenten period is meant to serve as an invitation to relive with Jesus the forty days he spent in the desert, praying and fasting, in preparation for his public mission. Today, we too, together with all the world's Christians, are spiritually setting out toward Calvary on a journey of reflection and prayer, meditating on the central mysteries of the faith. We will thus prepare ourselves to experience, after the mystery of the cross, the joy of Easter.
- General Audience, Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2006
From Lent with Pope Benedict XVI: Meditations for Every Day