Turner’s “Sunrise” is, I think, the perfect illustration of our Lenten Lauds Hymn, Jam, Christe, Sol Iustitiae.
The Lengthening Day
Lent is a lovely word. It belongs to that distinguished family of old English church words. Some of them — Shrove Tuesday and Maundy Thursday, for example — are still familiar to us. Most other languages refer to Lent with a term derived from the Latin Quadragesima, signifying forty days, but we English-speaking Catholics hold to our Lent. It comes from the Old English lengten, meaning spring, and refers to the lengthening daylight hours.
Who among us is not yearning for longer sun-filled days? It is time for Lent, time for all that is dark and cold to shrink, time for a lengthening brightness. This is, I think, something of what Saint Paul was getting at in the second reading. “Behold now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). The same Paul, in his defense before King Agrippa, recounts his own conversion experience, his “day of salvation,” and says, “At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter