February 4, 2007

Septuagesima and Lent ... Already?!

The story of the Prodigal Son has always been one of my all-time favorite Biblical passages . Which may be why I have always loved Lent and meditating (in my own feeble way) on the Passion of Our Lord.

However, it always seems to me that Ash Wednesday would approach before I had a chance to figure out what I wanted to do for Lent... other than just giving up something mundane like candy. So it wasn't unusual that I'd spend half of Lent not doing much of anything penitential and the other half figuring out ways to justify eating the penitential sacrifice!

For the last decade or so I have had a fascination with Septuagesima. I discovered that this is a voluntary penitential season in preparation for the Great Fast of Lent. The time of pre-preparation so to speak. The Church in Her Wisdom must have been thinking of people like me. This is the perfect time to figure out what we want to do during Lent. Beginning, this year, on February 4th, it is, as always, a full 2-1/2 weeks before Ash Wednesday which is February 21st. Just enough time to get things organized and our minds in order to actually have a beautiful Lent. Fisheaters has some great information on Septuagesima and of course worded much nicer than I could ever put into words.

When I think of what I'd like to do for Lent, being a wife and mother-of-many, I think about what areas would be most beneficial to my family as a whole as well as my own personal growth in holiness. To accomplish this (or fail miserably!) I concentrate on a few major areas.

The Intellect - I find some good reading, something good for the mind, something spiritually uplifting, in particular spiritual reading and extra prayers, like the Stations of the Cross on Fridays for example.

The Will - I think of some area that I need to work on, some kind of a good habit to form, something good for the soul namely virtue. This can be avoiding some vice or weakness or doing various things to increase in virtue. Basically do good and avoid evil.

The Desire - I think of what things I can do away with, something for the body. Often this is in obvious things like giving up sweets, computer time and other such things.

For the children we have done a variety of things like Lenten Calendars, Crown of Thorns with flower stickers, Sacrifice Beads and daily sacrifices.

More on Lent in a later post. Start thinking about having a good and holy Lenten Season now. It's always freeing to do away with a little extra baggage!

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