February 16, 2014

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.... I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty; I so fight, not as one beating the air: but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.
1Corinthians 9:24-27; 10:1-5 snippet)

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

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 still a great reminder either way for what is coming.  This gives us 2-1/2 weeks to prepare for Lent.

Prayer and Spiritual Reading for the soul
Lent in a wonderful time to increase and renew our spiritual life.  

Prayer is the place of refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerfulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness.
St. John Chrysostom

What do you need to improve on in your prayer life? Do you say your basic prayers?  Do you spend some quiet time in prayer every day?  Would you be able to make it to daily Mass? 

When we pray we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us.
St. Jerome

Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic Book.
St. John Bosco

If you haven't been doing any spiritual reading Lent is a great time to begin... 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.  A few really good ones are:
Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Liguori
The Victories of the Martyrs by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Mortification of the flesh
The more one mortifies his natural inclinations, the more he renders himself capable of receiving divine inspirations and of progressing in virtue.
St. Francis de Sales

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!). 

The only true riches are those that make us rich in virtue. Therefore, if you want to be rich, beloved, love true riches. If you aspire to the heights of real honor, strive to reach the Kingdom of Heave. If you value rank and renown, hasten to be enrolled in the heavenly court of the Angels
St. Gregory the Great

What will you be doing to increase in virtue?  Pick a particular vice to rid yourself of while increasing it's opposite virtue (taken from www.fisheaters.com):
The 7 Capital Sins and their Contrary Virtues
Capital Sin
Contrary Virtue
Unrestrained appreciation of our own worth
Immoderate desire for earthly goods
Hankering for impure pleasures
Inordinate desire for revenge
Unrestrained use of food and drink
Sorrow over another's good fortune
Brotherly Love
Laxity in keeping the Faith and the practice of virtue

So... now is the time to prepare for the Great Lenten Fast... which begins on March 5th.

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