The poetics of Lent

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Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus with the cross. One of my great loves is Renaissance art that depicts New Testament scenes. I can't find credible information regarding the creator of this painting.

Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus with the cross. One of my great loves is Renaissance art that depicts New Testament scenes. I can’t find credible information regarding the creator of this painting.

When I think back to my childhood church, it’s the Lenten services that dominate my memories. The Catholic Church places ritual emphasis on this time of year, a thoughtful meditation on Jesus’ death.

From my book:

“Each Lenten season, on frozen February and March nights, we replay the last hours of Christ’s death through Stations of the Cross. Father Gavin, wearing purple vestments the color of angry bruises, marches slowly up and down the aisle, slinging an incense burner from side to side. The thick, acrid smoke burns my nostrils and nauseates me as I pull my shirt over my nose. Mom’s expert fingers press down organ keys, droning their minor tones from the balcony above.”

To this day, the names from the Passion story resonate with poetic rhythm: Joseph of Arimathea, Simon of Cyrene, Pontius Pilate. Perhaps it was those early Lenten services that drilled the beauty of language, and the power of story, into my mind.

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