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Just what is Septuagesima, anyways? February 4, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Lent, Liturgical Year, priests, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

Many readers not familiar with the traditional liturgical calendar may wonder what this “Septuagesima” I mention from time to time is.  The video below discusses the nature of Septuagesima in some details, as well as giving some understanding of the purpose it serves.

In brief, Septuagesima is a period of moderate penance to get one ready for the heavy duty penance of Lent.  It is a period of preparation.  Since Lent is the major penitential season of the liturgical year, it makes sense to get ready for it by starting some of the penitential practices in advance. I, for one, have found Septuagesima very helpful; in years past, I would often feel that Ash Wednesday snuck up on me, and I did not have a program of prayer, penance, and alms giving worked out in advance.  Septuagesima is a period to do just that – to start ramping up the prayer, the penance, and thinking about what kinds of alms one might be able to give this Lent.

The sermon also discusses Lent and the performance of penance generally. Penance is so efficacious of Grace and is vital to the practice of virtue!  We can scarcely advance in virtue without learning to master our appetites and develop a strong spirit of self-denial.

The priest also makes the very important point that just because the practice of penance has been de-emphasized greatly in the past several decades, that does not mean it is not important.  Our Blessed Lord said penance was necessary for salvation.  Even if high leaders in the Church seem to minimize penance or treat it as some dated medieval neo-Pelagian practice, that doesn’t mean we are absolved of our duty to practice it.  Woe to them that say so, but let us not be fooled.

To me, Septuagesima reveals the great wisdom of the Church’s liturgical calendar.  I love the wisdom of having a sort of “warm-up period” for Lent.  Lent should be a period of great devotion for us, as we fast in union with Our Lord’s own fast of 40 days in the desert, in preparation for the great Feast of His glorious Resurrection.  It is a shame it was deleted from the liturgical calendar in the – ahem – reforms of the 1960s.

Anyway, I hope you find this video edifying!  I did when I heard it the first time back, and picked up more listening to it again.


1. Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus — Introduction, Context, and Day 1 | FideCogitActio : "Omnis per gratiam" fidescogitactio @ gmail . com - February 8, 2015

[…] up with what I can, and I figure getting on track with a novena is better than nothing. As always, Veneremur Cernui beat me to the punch, and provides great insights from the Church’s liturgical tradition to deepen this […]

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