Participate in Septuagesima! February 17, 2014Posted by tantamergo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgical Year, Liturgy, manhood, mortification, priests, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
In the traditional practice of the Faith, associated with the Traditional Mass, we are now in a time of the liturgical year called Septuagesima. This time started yesterday with Septuagesima Sunday. It will last for 2 1/2 weeks. It will end with Ash Wednesday on March 5, starting the formal period of the Lenten fast and abstinence. Ash Wednesday begins the 6 1/2 week period – 46 days – of that Lenten fast. But because we do not fast or abstain on Sundays, the Church, many, many centuries ago, moved the beginning of the fast to the Wednesday of the week of Quinquagesima (Ash Wednesday) to make the number of Lenten fast days – 40 – equal to those suffered by our Blessed Lord in the desert immediately prior to the beginning of his 3 year public mission.
What is Septuagesima? It is a Lenten warm up period. It is a voluntary period of fasting, abstinence, and/or other mortifications designed to get us ready and focused for the major annual fast/mortification of Lent. Instead of just waking up Ash Wednesday morning trying to figure out what you are going to give up for Lent, seeing if you have fish in the freezer and hoping you can make it through the day with less than 2 full meals, via Septuagesima, you start practicing your fasting and abstinence well before Lent gets going so you are really ready to roll once Ash Wednesday comes around.
I recall that in some past years, before I had the benefit of the voluntary period of preparation that is Septuagesima, I would often flounder around at the beginning of Lent, not being really focused enough to adhere well to even the almost trivial fasting and abstinence required by Church Law today (since Paul VI’s “reforms,” there are only two required days of fasting and abstinence in the entire year, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday). I would often have no idea what I was going to give up for Lent.
But since I have been assisting at the traditional Mass and have had the truly wise and glorious benefit of Septuagesima, I find myself much better prepared for Lent. I must reiterate that this is a voluntary season of penance and self-denial, but it is one that the faithful had a very strong attachment to in centuries past.
Septuagesima Sunday starts this season, followed by Sexagesima and then Quinquagesima. During Septuagesima, the Church in Her great wisdom aids the faithful in this voluntary practice of mortification by adopting certain penitential practices in the Liturgy. This includes the deletion of the Gloria, the wearing of violet vestments, the deletion of the Alleluia, and a shift in the content of the Proper prayers towards a sense of our sinfulness, need for mortification for conversion, and our paramount need for Our Lord’s Grace to enable us to attain salvation.
You can learn all the above, and much, much more regarding this season in the video below.
Sadly, the season of Septuagesima was deleted by the liturgical “reformers” after Vatican II. There reasons for doing so were so specious as to be laughable – Bugnini claimed they feared that Septuagesima somehow took focus away from Lent – by preparing one for it!
If that’s true, why didn’t they delete both Advent and Lent, as Advent prepares us for Christmas and Lent for Easter? Don’t they then “take away” from those glorious celebratory seasons?
The idea that a season of preparation pointing at the following season somehow takes away from it deserves the derision with which it has been treated. It is nothing but a naked excuse to delete a season the reformers hated, due to its focus on mortification and its stressing our desperate need for God’s Grace.