by R.F. Becker
Let us begin our study of Lent by asking, as many will, If this observance of abstinence is wrong, how did it become so universal?
1How Did It Come To Occupy So Large A Space On Our Calendar?
Why, the Roman Catholic Church put it there during the sixth century! She “borrowed” the 40 days called “Lent” from the worshippers of the Babylonian queen of heaven.
Let not my reader suppose that Lent is observed only in the Roman Church and our anemic Protestant churches today.
In Layard’s “Nineveh and Babylon,” page 93, we learn that Lent is observed by the Yezidis, devil-worshippers of Koordistan. They inherited this heathen fast fashion from their early Babylonian masters.
In Humboldt’s “Mexican Researches,” volume 1, page 404, we find how the pagan Mexicans kept a Lent. “Three days after the vernal equinox began a solemn fast of forty days in honor of the sun.”
In Landseer’s “Sabean Researches,” page 112, we are informed how an Egyptian Lent of 40 days was held expressly in honor of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god. So we can see Rome is by no means original in observing her pagan Lent.
Just as on December 25 a great celebration and feast was held in Babylon in honor of the birth of Tammuz so in that same country the 40 days’ fast was observed as an important preliminary of the great feast held in commemoration of the death and resurrection of the same idol! And this same Lent was observed in Babylon by alternate weeping and rejoicing, just as Rome today has her poor blind subjects keep holy-weeks by alternate days of joy and sorrow.