February 20, 2011

Septuagesima Sunday

Brethren, Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things. And they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible one. Cor 9:24-27
Today begins the Penitential Season of the Church Year. This time lasts 2-1/2 weeks before Ash Wednesday. It is a transitional period of time between Christmas and the Great Lenten Fast. I, more practically call it, the time to remember to think what we will do for Lent. I think the Church was very wise to have this time (though dropped at the switch of the calendars) otherwise suddenly it is Ash Wednesday and more suddenly it is Easter and we didn't do a thing but the usual... eat, drink and be merry. So it's time to think how we will go more deeply during the coming season of Lent, start weaning ourselves from the extras .... etc.
I chose the picture above because of Michelangeo's striking imagery of the Evil One. I spent some time trying to blur the naughty bits without any success to which suddenly Pippin says, "Mommy, will you please put some clothes on those people?!" haha But since I was unsuccessful I shrunk it so it was small and just "gives you the idea". But it beautifully summarizes the reason for the penitential season of the Church Year.
So what things do we do for Lent? I have not yet figured out what I will do in addition to what I already do but these are the areas I aim for:
Mind: (more) Spiritual Reading
Body: Bodily Mortification
Soul: Work on a virtue by avoiding the opposite vice
When chosing what to do I try to be realistic and start bit-by-bit. And each week add on a little more. Of course the point isn't to just suffer through Lent and then get our chocolate bunny on Easter, the point of course is to work through these things in a more serious manner, make these ordinary things so that by Easter we have in some way mastered ourselves and have goodness to move forward with and celebrate in a more pure way and a more pure heart. It doesn't mean drop all we have worked on for 40 days and then throw it out the window. It isn't about saving all we didn't do and then indulging in it later (you know.... not saving up Green's and Black's Milk chocolate bars with almonds for 40 days and then eating them all on Easter Sunday!!!)
And because Holy Mother Church is so good to us, the Sundays that fall during Lent fall outside the Great Lenten Fast. In my opinion of course this means in moderation. She also provides for us some very special Feast Days during Lent like Annunciation, St. Joseph, St. Patrick (for those Irish Folk among us :)

No comments:

Post a Comment