Monday, January 28, 2013

Get ready for Lent!

The Season of Septuagesima is 'pre-Lent': a preparation for Lent, when the liturgical colour is purple, and the Gloria and Alleluia are not sung.

So for those who follow the Extraordinary Form, yesterday was Septugesima Sunday. The Epistle was St Paul telling us how he brought his body into subjection by mortifying it, and the Gospel was the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard, when we, the idle labourers, are urged to go to work in the Lord's Vineyard even though it is the 'eleventh hour'; we may still hope, from God's pure generosity, for the pay due for a full day's work: that is, we can still squeak into heaven. We need to get ready for Lent.

What were they thinking of, when the reformers abolished the season of Septuagesima? Looking it up in Bugnini's massive 'The Reform of the Roman Liturgy' (p319), the answer seems to be 'nothing'. This is what he says:

'The Septuagesima season is suppressed, the the three Sundays making it up become Sundays of Ordinary Time.'

That's it.

One could speculate that the rationale was connected with the general dislike of 'negative' elements in the liturgy, such as penance. Certainly, the yesterday's Collect won't have endeared itself to Bugnini:

O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Human Sin leads to suffering, including the suffering of the innocent, but we are delivered by God's Grace. This is the dogmatic teaching and the spiritual guidance of the Church. We need to get our heads around this in time for Lent, and prepare ourselves for some penance. We can all think of thinks we should be sorry for, and things for which we need to beseech God's mercy. Don't present yourself for the ash of Ash Wednesday without thinking about it first.

1 comment:

  1. The blame is not really to be placed with the reformers, who were but servants and emissaries, but with the bishop of Rome himself, who had the final say. At any time he could have put a stop to it all, but he didn't; so there is your problem.