Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, and the day has certain types of music tied to it. Though not every church uses the same hymnal or selects the same songs to represent Ash Wednesday, the music chosen for the occasion centers around the same themes. These include prayer, fasting, redemption, salvation and endurance. The songs sung at this time prepare the congregation for the 40 days and nights of diligence.
During the season of Lent, members of the Catholic church prepare their hearts for Christ's death and resurrection. In this season, people make sacrifices in their daily lives, such as fasting and giving up vices. This is because during Common Time, people grow complacent and joyful; it is said that too much joy makes it easy to forget to worship fully. The Catholic church recognizes certain songs to represent this time of the year.
Ash Wednesday Music
Music in the Weeks of Lent
The first week of Lent centers around penance and confession, and the music selected carries these themes, too. In the next four weeks, the music keeps the congregation mindful of the suffering of Christ, including his passion in the fifth week. The music in the last four weeks is intended to keep everyone strong in their sacrifices and remind them of Jesus' sufferings in his own 40 days of Lent.
Palm Sunday is a day of celebration and mourning. Though it marks the celebration of the citizens of Jerusalem as they welcomed Jesus into the city, it also reminds us that Jesus would be dead within days. This day's music contains a mix of emotions, from celebratory songs about Jesus entering the city to verses about the cross on which Jesus was condemned to die.
Good Friday marks the death of Jesus, and the music connected with this day focuses on the suffering he faced as well as the unworthiness of humans to be beneficiaries of his suffering. The music contains themes of human fault, including the betrayal by Judas Iscariot and Peter's denial of knowing Jesus. It is through these songs that we acknowledge that we are full of sin. One song usually included in the Good Friday Mass is "Jesus, Remember Me," which is written from the point of view of one of the thieves crucified alongside Jesus.
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