Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper


A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist


...unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.

Luke 13:3

...except you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.

Luke 13:5

This is ember week

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quadragesima

Quadragesima, Latin for fortieth, signifies this first Sunday of Lent, which is 40 days before Good Friday, and is also a name for the whole season of Lent.

The number 40 in the Bible is associated with probation and purification, and with the time needed to accomplish some important part of God's plan.

Even when God chastises His people, He does not destroy them, and offers them hope of renewal if they will mend their ways.


Noah
After giving mankind three times forty years to repent from the great evil in which it had fallen (Genesis 6:3), God sent rain upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights to destroy the sinful, but He preserved a faithful remnant. (Genesis 7:12)

The waters of the great flood prefigured the waters of baptism (1 Peter 3:20-21).

Moses
When Moses had lived 40 years, he sought out his people. 40 years after that, God sent him back to Egypt to deliver his people out of bondage.

After the Israelites had spied out the promised land for 40 days (Numbers 13:25), and still feared to enter in despite God's promise, God made His people wander in the desert for 40 years. (Numbers 14:26-34, 32:6-15, Deuteronomy 8:2-10, Psalm 95:8-10).

Moses twice went up Mount Sinai and stayed there for 40 days each time to receive the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 24:12-18, 34:27-34, Deuteronomy 10:10)

When Moses came down from the mountain, people were afraid to approach him. His face shone because he had been talking with God.

During their time in the desert, God's people was nourished by manna (Exodus 16:35), prefiguring the Eucharist.

Elijah
Fed by an angel, Elijah was strengthened for a 40 day journey to the mountain that Moses had climbed, and there he also encountered the one true living God. (1 Kings 19:4-16)

Jonah
Jonah warned the people of the Assyrian capital city of Nineveh that they had 40 days to repent of their sins. (Jonah 3:4, 10) They listened and acted on what they heard, and God spared them.

(Years later, they fell back into sin and this time were destroyed).

Ezekiel
The prophet Ezekiel lay on his right side 40 days to represent 40 years of sin by Judah. (Ezekiel 4:6)


Our Lord and Savior
Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights before he began his public ministry. (Matthew 3:13-4:11, Luke 4:1-12)

After His death and resurrection, our Lord appeared to His disciples for 40 days, speaking of things pertaining to God's kingdom. (Acts 1:2)


More occurences of the number 40:

Judges
Israel enjoyed 40 years of peace under the first of its judges, Othniel (Judges 3:11), and 40 years each again later under Debbora (Judges 5:31) and Gideon (Judges 8:28). In each case, Israel fell away from God's path and God's protection, and had to repent and then struggle against her enemies before there was peace. Under another judge, Ehud, the land of Israel had peace for twice forty years.

Yet another time when the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, He delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years, before giving them Samson to deliver them. (Judges 13)

One of the last of this group of leaders of Israel, Heli, judged his nation for 40 years. (1 Samuel 4:18) He began his years of service faithfully, but grew lax, and at the end of his years the high-priesthood was taken from his family and the ark of the covenant from Israel.

Saul
The first king of Israel reigned for 40 years. (Acts 13:21) He did not follow God's commands, so God's grace and blessing was withdrawn from him and his sons did not rule after him.

David
For 40 days, Goliath, champion of the Philistine army, challenged the Israelite army before David answered his challenge and defeated him. (1 Samuel 17)

King David ruled Judah for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4).

Solomon
David's son Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. (1 Kings 11:42)

Jehoash
King Jehoash, or Joash, repaired the temple and reigned in Jerusalem for 40 years. But after the death of the high priest, he strayed and worshipped other gods. After his death, he was not found worthy to be buried in the sepulchres of kings. (2 Kings 12, 2 Chronicles 24)

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God has a plan for us. He gives us time to do our part. His plan for us is repentance, and penance, and healing, and the enjoyment of His peace and blessing. It is today 40 days until Good Friday. These days are set aside so we can repair our lives, if we are not living them the way we should. I pray that you, dear reader, will use these days wisely. And that what you begin, you will also end well. May God bless you.
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Finally:

It is about 40 weeks from conception to birth of a baby.

40 days was the period required for purification after the birth of a baby boy (Leviticus 12:2,4), twice 40 days for after the birth of a baby girl. (Leviticus 12:5)

After our Lord's crucifixion, it was about 40 years until the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

It has been about 40 years since the Catholic Church started using corrupted translations of the Mass into English and other vernacular languages. That ends this year. Deo gratias.

May God uproot all that is flawed in us and raise us up to a new life in holiness.

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