First of all, I would like to wish everyone a happy and blessed Easter!
I have been reading an excellent book called "Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs"
(Sorry it isn't underlined, Blogger won't let me do that.)
This book has been absolutely fascinating in some ways, and depressing in others. It outlines how various feasts were celebrated in days of old, going as far back as the early Middle Ages. It is disappointing to see all the wonderful traditions that we have abandoned in our modern world. Our rules for fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are nothing compared to the very harsh rules of olden times. Becoming a Catholic suddenly seems easy compared to what someone a thousand years ago had to endure. Catechumens in the Middle Ages were not allowed to take a bath all through Lent until Holy Saturday! Yet, when we look at the rules and obligations applied to us by the Holy See, we sometimes look at the Vatican incredulously, thinking, "How can they do this to us?" But, really, the rules are rather lenient in today's society. These "rules" set upon us are designed to help us become more Christ-like, not to simply make us suffer. So, next time you are upset about fasting, or maybe abstaining from meat on a Friday when you just really craved that Big Mac, unite your suffering with the suffering that Our Lord endured for our salvation.
Have a wonderful and Blessed Easter!!!