Skip to comments.The Triduum and 40 Days
Posted on 04/20/2006 7:55:14 AM PDT by Salvation
|The Triduum and 40 Days
|Is the Triduum part of Lent? When I count the days from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday, I find that it only turns out to be 40 if we count the Triduum and do not count the six Sundays during that period. I know that the date of Ash Wednesday was specifically selected to produce a 40-day Lent. So arent the three days of the Triduum really part of Lent?
Here is one time when the straight answer is not going to be clearly straight. As stated in the question, Lent does begin on Ash Wednesday and is a special 40-day preparation for the celebration of Easter. Also as stated in the question, the 40-day calculation begins with Ash Wednesday, excludes the Sundays of Lent and ends on Holy Saturday.
By the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Church was born and set out upon the pathways of the world, yet a decisive moment in her taking shape was certainly the institution of the Eucharist in the Upper Room. Her foundation and wellspring is the whole Triduum paschale, but this is as it were gathered up, foreshadowed and "concentrated" forever in the gift of the Eucharist. In this gift Jesus Christ entrusted to His church the perennial making-present of the pascal mystery. With it He brought about a mysterious "oneness in time" between the Triduum and the passage of the centuries. (No. 5)One could make the argument, therefore, that Lent ends with the celebration of the Mass of the Lords Supper on Holy Thursday, the beginning of the Triduum; however, one would also be left with a less than 40-day Lent, which contradicts long-standing tradition.
So where does that leave us? Perhaps, here is where tradition carries the greatest weight. As stated above, the Second Vatican Council reminded us to keep the paschal fast throughout Lent until the Easter Vigil, the first Mass of Easter. Nevertheless, we must also celebrate the Triduum really as one saving event which allows us to live in the ever-present reality of our Lords Last Supper, Ppassion, death and Resurrection. The Triduum is an even more intensive time of preparation for Easter and brings Lent to its climax.
Fr. Saunders is pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls and a professor of catechetics and theology at Notre Dame Graduate School in Alexandria. If you enjoy reading Fr. Saunders's work, his new book entitled Straight Answers (400 pages) is available at the Pauline Book and Media Center of Arlington, Virginia (703/549-3806).
(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)
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From a strictly liturgical perspective (i.e. The Order of the Divine Office and the Proper Elements of the Mass), there exist official Latin terms to distinguish the "general" liturgical seasons and the "specific" seasons within them. So, in English, the term Lent can mean the entire 40 days as stated above, or it can be narrowed to mean the liturgical subset of days within the overall 40 days. The Latin has different terms to distinguish this which English does not. For example,
Tempus Quadragesimale = The Overall 40 Day Period known as Lent in English
Tempus Quadragesimae = The Period of Liturgical Time beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on the Saturday before Passion Sunday
Tempus Passionis = Passiontide (The Final Two Weeks of overall Lent). And then, within this is the subset of Holy Week, and within Holy Week is the subset of the Holy Triduum.
The same distinctions also apply during Easter Time.
Tempus Paschalis = The Entire 50 Day Period extending through to and inclusive of Pentecost.
Tempus Paschatis = The first 40 Days between Easter and the Ascension.
In English, Paschal Time can be used to refer to both.
At lot of churches do have a class following their adult baptisms. It's called a neophyte class. (A class for newly baptized.)
I'm a little confused what the Triduum is. Is it Holy Thurs,, Good Friday and Holy Sat? Or is it Holy Thurs, Good Friday and Easter Sunday?