I have heard it said, by the way, that Donne's intolerable defect of ear grew out of his own baptismal name, when harnessed to his own surname -- John Donne. No man, it was said, who had listened to this hideous jingle from childish years, could fail to have his genius for discord, and the abominable in sound, improved to the utmost.
Europe was darkened at sunset, Cordova shone with public lamps; Europe was dirty, Cordova built a thousand baths; Europe was covered with vermine, Cordova changed its undergarments daily; Europe lay in mud, Cordovas streets were paved; Europes palaces had smoke-holes in the ceiling, Cordovas arabesques were exquisite; Europes nobility could not sign its name, Cordovas children went to school; Europes monks could not read the baptismal service, Cordovas teachers created a library of Alexandrian dimensions.
Lent, then, is radically baptismal ...some of the familiar customs of Lent...bring forth the baptismal theme.
The three traditional pillars of Lenten observance are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The key to renewed appropriation of these practices is to see their link to baptismal renewal.