Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras Meant to Be More than a Party
One could call this celebration the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the penitential Season of the forty days of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance. Ironically, carnival comes from the Latin "carne vale" which means "farewell to meat" or "farewell to flesh" indicating the end to certain pleasures has come. For today's Catholics, Fat Tuesday needs to be viewed as a time of anticipation not debauchery. While we can eat pancakes, which has been a tradition, along with sneaking a few extra strips of bacon or links of sausage, this day is a day of farewell. We say goodbye to our old norm and preparing our hearts for a Holy Lent.
Some have tried to argue that this term meant that people should discard their moral faith commitments and for the night and just "let anything happen." This simply doesn't fit the true nature of the day.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - This day is Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday." Usually we think of New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro but there are many places around the world where this day is an excuse for incredible debauchery and depravity.
One could call this the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the Season of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance.
Traditions grew up around Fat Tuesday, where people would empty their pantries of many items restricted during Lent
One of the terms often used with Mardi Gras is the word "carnival." We picture huge public celebrations or parades. Anyone who visits one of the big carnivals held on this day usually bring back stories of self-indulgence and hedonism that make most people blush.
Ironically, carnival comes from the Latin "carne vale" which means "farewell to meat" or "farewell to flesh" indicating the end to certain pleasures has come. Some have tried to argue that this term meant that people should discard their current lives for the night and just "let anything happen." This simply doesn't fit the true nature of the day.
In the Anglican world and other denominations such as Methodist or Lutheran, the commonly used term for the today is "Shrove Tuesday." In early Anglican practice, Lent was preceded by Shrovetide the week before Lent. The faithful were called to go to confession during that time in preparation for the Lenten observance.
The Catholic Encyclopedia explanation of Shrovetide includes a sentence from the Anglo-Saxon "Ecclesiastical Institutes." Translated from Theodulphus by Abbot Aelfric about A.D. 1000, it reads, "In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]."
For today's Catholics, Fat Tuesday needs to be viewed as a time of anticipation not debauchery. While we can eat pancakes, which has been a tradition, along with sneaking a few extra strips of bacon or links of sausage, today is a day of farewell. We say goodbye to our old norm and preparing our hearts for a Holy Lent.
Farewell should also be considered a more permanent state. Hopefully, we will be changed when we exit at Easter. Self-examination, abstinence and confession, when combined with the additions of formative spiritual disciplines, should result in a life more holy than it was.
The question we should ask ourselves is this: Are we more formed in the image of Christ after Lent than we were before? Do we have our hearts and minds looking more at heaven and less at our material lives? Our prayer life should be richer and more disciplined and our relationships strengthened, both with God and man.
It is a day of goodbyes. Looking toward the future, some things left behind should not be welcomed again. They lead us to sin, to making wrong choices, to bondage. However, the ascetical practices voluntarily embraced by believers during lent, bring freedom. That is the goal of Lent. Conversion is not simply about leaving things behind but about being made new in Jesus Christ. That is real cause for celebration and joy.
Fr Randy Sly is the Chaplain of the ecumenical movement, Common Good. He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. He laid aside that ministry to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church a lifelong search for the fullness of Christian truth. He participated in Church history when he became one of the first former Anglicans ordained as a Catholic priest for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus."
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
More Lent & Easter
FREE Class Enroll Now
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'
Easter / Lent News
Chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps have graced the shelves of U.S. stores for weeks in anticipation of Easter, but now that the actual ... continue reading
Easter is more than a Day, it is a Way; A Way of living our lives differently now in Him. We are invited to do that by living them in His ... continue reading
The Easter Bunny is a symbol of Easter that is popular in western culture, especially with children. According to folklore, the Easter ... continue reading
Are Easter eggs pagan? Watch
Easter eggs are a traditional part of modern Easter celebrations, but their origins are shrouded in history, raising questions about their ... continue reading
This Easter, make sure to take a moment with your family to thank Jesus for his amazing sacrifice. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Turn ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Monday, July 22, 2019
- Influencers in a Pro-life Vocation
- Making a Difference: Lessons for Earth 50 years after first moon landing
- Daily Reading for Monday, July 22nd, 2019 HD Video
- St. Mary Magdalene: Saint of the Day for Monday, July 22, 2019
- What is St. John Bosco's 'Preventative System' and why is Pope ...
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, July 19th 2019 HD
- Mary, the Blessed Virgin HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, July 21st, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Thursday, July 18th 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.