Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
It is hard to believe, but the First Sunday of Lent is only two Sunday’s away. Lent is an important time for us as Catholics to recall the importance of not just sacrifice, but of the Cross itself. It is for this reason that we make sacrifices and give up various things that we take pleasure in. I encourage each of you to consider these things now, lest Ash Wednesday take us by surprise.
I encourage you not only to consider giving up things that you take pleasure in – like chocolate, television, or alcohol – but also to consider giving permanently a sinful indulgence, to strive to do some act of charity, or to improve your prayer life. Make some change to your life that is permanent and lasting.
Being a Christian is difficult and hard. Our Lord never once promised us that it would be easy. It requires sacrifice, penance, a loss of prestige and possibly friends. The problem in the Church today is that we have lost sight of the Cross. Being Catholic has become too convenient and comfortable. We no longer have an image in our minds of the suffering Lord, the suffering martyrs, the sacrifices of the saints. May we do well this Lent to recover this, for the good of our souls and the good of the Church.
As we prepare for Lent, please find this reflection on the pre-Lent season of Septuagesima by Dom Prosper Guéranger. Have a blessed week ahead!
“The Season of Septuagesima comprises the three weeks immediately preceding Lent. It forms one of the principal divisions of the Liturgical Year, and is itself divided into three parts, each part corresponding to a week: the first is called Septuagesima; the second, Sexagesima; the third, Quinquagesima.
All three are named from their numerical reference to Lent, which, in the language of the Church, is called Quadragesima, – that is, Forty, – because the great Feast of Easter is prepared for by tile holy exercises of Forty Days. The words Quinquagesima, Sexagesima, and Septuagesima, tell us of the same great Solemnity as looming in the distance, and as being the great object towards which the Church would have us now begin to turn all our thoughts, and desires, and devotion.
Now, the Feast of Easter must be prepared for by a forty-days’ recollectedness and penance. Those forty-days are one of the principal Seasons of the Liturgical Year, and one of the most powerful means employed by the Church for exciting in the hearts of her children the spirit of their Christian vocation. It is of the utmost importance, that such a Season of penance should produce its work in our souls, – the renovation of the whole spiritual life. The Church, therefore, has instituted a preparation for the holy time of Lent. She gives us the three weeks of Septuagesima, during which she withdraws us, as much as may be, from the noisy distractions of the world, in order that our hearts may be the more readily impressed by the solemn warning she is to give us, at the commencement of Lent, by marking our foreheads with ashes.” – Dom Prosper Guéranger