Today begins Our Lady’s Lent. A Franciscan friend shared with me that St. Francis of Assisi kept this Lenten Fast from July 1st until the Feast of the Assumption. He also suggested that St. Peter Damian, an Umbrian, might have brought this practice about with the reform of clergy and religious during the 11th century in Italy. Another Umbrian kept this fast, as well, one of my favorites Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. It was from his life I first learned of this period of penance, which in his time was kept from the Feast of the Precious Blood to Our Lady’s Feast. He would abstain from fruits, his favorite, during these summer months.
How fitting it is for the Feast to fall on a First Friday. Most will not keep this Lent. It will be a hidden Lent, a humble Lent, in imitation of Our Lady of Humility. Join me if you are able. We have much to pray for. In these turbulent times, let us focus primarily on our friendship with Christ! We don’t want to knock and hear, “I know thee not!”
For the First Friday devotions, click here.