Of Shrove Tuesday and Postponed Feast Days
Happy Shrove Tuesday, the final day before the commencement of Lent tomorrow! Today we encourage you to enjoy a few traditional Shrove Tuesday pancakes or whatever the spiritual equivalent is for you. Pancakes became a traditional meal on this day in Britain and other countries because families would make pancakes as a way to use up their stores of butter, milk and eggs, which, back in the good old days, were forbidden along with flesh meat (be sure to check with your parish priest or spiritual director before taking on any severe penances). The word “shrove” comes from the word “shriven,” meaning “absolved,” referring to the once-common practice of confessing one’s sins in preparation for Lent.
Today we have extra cause for celebration because it also happens to be a second-class feast – that of the Apostle St. Matthias, whom we meet in the Acts of the Apostles as the replacement chosen for the traitorous Judas. St. Matthias’ usual February 24th feast day is celebrated today, the 25th, because 2020 is a leap year, an occurrence which transfers both his feast and that of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother (usual feast day February 27th) one day forward.
If you haven’t yet selected what you will “do” for Lent, there’s still time to contemplate it as you enjoy the last of the pancakes and sausages. Of course, giving up things we enjoy such as sweets or television is a good place to start, but we also encourage you to select something to add in to your spiritual regimen, such as 15 minutes of daily spiritual reading, the frequent practice of the Way of the Cross, or an extra weekday Mass. Happy Shrove Tuesday and feast of St. Matthias, and may your Lent be happy and holy! +
February 25, 2020