Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)

"On this Sunday, which marks the middle of Lent, a measure of consoling relaxation is provided, so that the faithful may not break down under the severe strain of Lenten fast but may continue to bear the restrictions with a refreshed and easier heart."
Pope Innocent III (1216, Homilia; PL, vol. CCXVII, col. 393)

By custom, priests wear rose vestments and flowers may be returned to the altar on this day which takes its joyful cue from the entrance antiphon for the Mass: Laetare Jerusalem (Rejoice, O Jerusalem).

During the Middle Ages it became customary to treat Laetare Sunday as a Mother's Day -- celebrating the Mother Church as well as one's own mother with flowers and simnel cake.

This is supposed to be a plum cake, but you'd never know it from the recipe which is so labor intensive that I'm going to opt to drink a glass of prune juice instead. While wearing pink! of course.

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