February 5, 2012

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. 1Corininthians 9:24)

Rembrandt's Vineyard
So shall the last be first and the first last. For many are called but few chosen.
Matthew 1:16

Today, Septuagesima Sunday, marks the day we begin a time of voluntary penance prior to the Great Lenten Fast.  This has been dropped from the New Calendar (still held in the Old), but is a great reminder for what is coming.  This gives us 2-1/2 weeks to prepare for Lent.... rather than standing there on Ash Wednesday saying, "Hm, what am I going to do?"  and still standing there on Palm Sunday saying, "Hm, I haven't done anything yet, what should I do?"

The man of prayer needs to practise many other mortifications [in addition to charity], internal as well as external, for, as we have said, prayer is impossible without mortification of mind and body.
Fr. Alfonso Gálvez

Prayer and Reading for the soul
What will you be reading? Lent is a great time to begin spiritual reading, if you haven't been doing any, or to increase it if you already do.  There are scores of beautiful spiritual reading that isn't dull and dry.  I like books that put my soul on fire for God.  What about prayer, do you need to add prayer to your life? Add another prayer?  Have a routine. Make a plan... a plan of life...

Mortification of the flesh
What will you be doing to mortify the flesh?  Lent is a great time to curb our human appetites... and that doesn't just mean dinner or candy.  There are numerous areas beyond the belly (though that is a good place to start!). 

What will you be doing to increase in virtue?  Something particular.  Where is a particular weakness in your soul?  Just pick one.  ONE.  I know there are many... just pick one.  Trust me.... just pick one. 

Being one who has put together many grand schemes for lent, believe me when I say, start simple.  If after 1 week (yes, I said one week.... roses grown on rocky ground sprout and then die off....) if you have mastered your simple list... add something (maybe 10 minutes instead of 5 in spiritual reading)  Slow and steady wins the race.

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