Is Lent really 40 days long?

Father Brench in New England offers a nice tutorial on why Lent lasts 46 days, but even more, why a cycle of introspection is a spiritually helpful interruption to our usual praise-dominated worship.

For an idea of how biblical this is, take an afternoon and read all 150 songs in the Jewish hymnal (the Psalms) in one sitting. You will be amazed at how many would not be included in a modern hymnal as unsuitable for public worship.

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Every now and then someone goes through a calendar and counts the days in Lent and is shocked and annoyed (or at least confused) to discover that Lent is actually 46 days long.  (It’s six full weeks, which is 42 days, plus the days of Ash Wednesday through Saturday adds 4 more to make 46.)

Hey!  What gives?  Is this a conspiracy by the Church to trick people into a 40-day season of discipline when secretly it’s really 46, and we’ve just been tricked because we almost never bother to count?

The answer is going to sound a little weird to those who are not used to the tradition of the Church, but bear with me.  Lent is 46 days long as a season, but it’s only a 40-day fast.  How is this possible?  Because Sundays don’t count.

So, what, does this mean that Lent is a manic depressive season:…

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