Fasten er en forberedelse til å feire påske. I fastetida mister vi flere ting (dvs. avstår fra dem friviliig), og så får vi dem igjen med renter når påsken feires. I den gamle messetradisjonen var det flere ting som forsvant, og det begynte tidligere og utvikla seg mer gradvis; fra søndag septuagesima. Slik beskriver Father Z. denne prosessen:
We lose things during Lent. We are being pruned through the liturgy. Holy Church experiences liturgical death before the feast of the Resurrection. The Alleluia goes on Septuagesima. Music and flowers go on Ash Wednesday. On Passion Sunday, statues and images are draped in purple. That is why Passion Sunday is sometimes called Repus Sunday, from repositus analogous to absconditus or “hidden”, because this is the day when Crosses and other images in churches are veiled.
Traditionally Crosses may be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday and images, such as statues may be covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
As part of the pruning, From Passion Sunday in the older form of Mass, the “Iudica” psalm in prayers at the foot of the altar and the Gloria Patri at the end of certain prayers was no longer said. The pruning cuts more deeply as we march into the Triduum.
After the Mass on Holy Thursday the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the main altar, which itself is stripped and bells are replaced with wooden noise makers.
On Good Friday there isn’t even a Mass. But there can be Communion.
On Saturday, liturgically considered, there isn’t even Communion. And by the time we get to the Vigil, we are deprived of light itself!
It is as if the Church herself were completely dead with the Lord in His tomb. This liturgical death of the Church reveals how Christ emptied Himself of His glory in order to save us from our sins and to teach us who we are.
The Church then gloriously springs to life again at the Vigil of Easter. In ancient times, the Vigil was celebrated in the depth of night. In the darkness a single spark would be struck from flint and spread into the flames. The flames spread through the whole Church.