Today, Ash Wed., we begin the Season of Lent. The Church reminds us of what we should be doing every day (Penance), not only during Lent. Yet, we have this Holy Season to ponder. The teaching we find in the Gospels, Jesus spent 40 days of fasting, giving us an example. Thereby we too fast in preparation for His Resurrection, proving to the entire world that He, Jesus Christ, is truly God.
It pleases God when we assist Him in carrying His Cross, although He does not need anything from us. He gave us an example when Simon of Cyrene was allowed by Christ to assist in the carrying of His Cross.
When and by whom was the season of Lent instituted?
Many of the early Fathers of the Church, in particular, St. Jerome, Pope St. Leo the Great, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and St. Isidore of Seville, confirm that the season of Lent was instituted by the Apostles themselves from the very commencement of the Church. They legislated a universal fast for the ever-growing flock of Christ to serve as a spiritual preparation for Our Lord’s Resurrection from the dead. The Apostles determined that, as the number forty (40) was a very significant number both in the Old and New Testaments, this solemn penitential season should also consist of 40 days. http://www.cmri.org/96prog2.htm