Lent readings and prayers...
If you haven't focused in on Lent properly yet, it really isn't too late - because better late than never! So there are a few general resources to help you:
- for the daily readings in the OF (and much more), Xt3.com's Lent calendar;
- for the daily Gospel in the EF, take a look over at my own Saint's Will Arise.
There has been a bit of a push this year, to remind us that fasting is the primary Lenten practice. The Anchoress has a nice piece on this featuring some nun humour, and with a link back to my piece on the Benedictine Rule's prescriptions on the subject. Over at New Theological Movement Reginaldus has a couple of pieces on why fasting is so important. And Fr Blake in the UK also has several thoughtful offerings on this subject - start with his Farewell to Flesh! Bottom line, it is not too late to start...
And in terms of other Lent practices, don't forget my own penitential psalm series, even if just to listen to the psalm of the day...
What about those solemnities?
And on fasting, coming up shortly we have several solemnities (St Patrick's Day, the feast of St Joseph, the Annunciation, and for Benedictines, St Benedict).
Thus the annual question arises, are these 'get out of Lent' days?
The short answer is yes! Current canon law prescribes that fasting, abstinence or penitential works are not required on solemnities (Class I) feasts.
But Fr Z makes a case for maintaining the discipline of Lent even on Sundays. I'm not sure I entirely agree - traditionalists in particular seem to need regular reminders that it is current canon law that rules, not that which prevailed in the past, and to avoid Jansenistic tendancies (liberals on the other hand, need to be reminded that there are actually laws specifiying certain minimum requirements that they must obey!) - but I guess there is generally nothing wrong with voluntarily doing a little more, so long as we do remember that it is actually a feast day and lighten up at least a little! Although, since the solemnities fall so early, the get out of Lent card this year is a lot less of a respite than usual!
Lent customs: trying but failing!
Also on the Lent front is the annual phenomenon of well-meaning but misguided attempts at "traditional" practice. You know the kind of thing I mean - removing holy water from the stoops and replacing it with sand. Or veiling all the statues in the church from the beginning of Lent rather than just during Passiontide...
The purpose of Lent
There have been many excellent posts around on the purpose of Lent - see for example the Pulp.it's Ash Wednesday special and many subsequent articles listed over there.
***But I've been particularly remiss in not highlighting Cardinal Pell's push to link the renewal of our baptismal promises with the issue of vocations during Lent. Fortunately, A Priest Down Under has an excellent write up on this, do go read.
Also important reading, newstarter Reverend Corrigan takes on Melbourne 'celebrity' priest, Fr Bob McGuire with a post on Why guilt is good.
I have a listing of pastoral letters and related materials on the subject from Australian bishops (do let me know of any others that have been released).
Ongoing debates within the Australian Church...
Fr Pearce has a very nice piece on the proper role of the priest in the Church, in the context of the installation of Fr Dillon as a parish priest.
David Schütz takes on the latest attempt at pushback from the Church's teachings on the same sex 'marriage' debate, brought to you by the Jesuits.
And the Reverend Corrigan already has several strong entries on his Country Deacon blog, but let me draw your attention to my favourite so far, on why 'love is not tolerance' - the ethics of driving.
Oh yes and judging by the speed at which webhits have accumulated on these, I'm sure everyone has already looked at those pretty pictures, but if you haven't do enjoy (or go take a look at the full set on the Blessed Cardinal Newman Latin Mass Community website)!
And you can read the full text of Cardinal Burke's talk from last Friday on the collapse of the West here.