Sunday, 5 February 2012

And on the subject of tradition: Septuagesima!

Today in the Extraordinary Form is Septuagesima Sunday, the start of the pre-Lent season.

Conservatives: time for some reform of the reform?

Over at Fr Hunwicke's Liturgical Notes you can find an excellent post on the disconnect between the realities of the modern calendar (viz the disappearance of Septuagesimatide altogether from the OF) and the actual words of Vatican II documents:

"The liturgical year is to be revised so that the traditional customs and discipline of the sacred seasons can be preserved."

It is a repost from last year, along with his other notes on the Sundays of this period, but well worth rereading, or reading if you haven't previously!

Why we need Septuagesimatide

In the traditional Office, Genesis is read at Matins, and Mr Hunwicke's post on that text and the Mass propers for Septuagesima Sunday nicely draws out the way in which early liturgical development reflected an approach to the interpretation of Scripture that spoke of the continuing relevance of Scripture to contemporary events:

The Introit is: "The groanings of Death have surrounded me". This recalls the Genesis theme that the pains, labours, and mortality of Man (and not least of Woman) result from the Fall. Yes, I know that the Gesimas were probably introduced by S Gregory the Great at a time of great distress, strife, and chaos in Italy - which does lie behind the sense of agony and helplessness in this and other texts. My point is that it was the Pontiff who discerned a connection between a world ravaged and disordered by the Fall ... and the realities of late sixth century Italy. How can anyone who reads the newspapers doubt that this connection is just as possible now?

Making the most of it: preparing for Lent

Theological preparation aside, these three weeks are also a time to start thinking about what you are going to do in Lent this year: what spiritual reading you might adopt; how serious a fast, and getting ready for it; what almsgiving; what penitential practices.

So since the Australian dollar is once again high perhaps facilitating the purchase of a book from Amazon or such places, perhaps a good place might to start our preparations might be to consider possible spiritual reading!

Since our bishops have decreed that from Pentecost, Australia will celebrate a year of Grace, I'm particularly interested in suggestions that go to that theme.

One obvious starting point would be the lives of saints who illustrate what it is to live the graced life.  St Augustine's Confessions perhaps, or St Terese of Avila's autobiography.  Any other thoughts or suggestions? 

1 comment:

Stella Orientis said...

I ordered the Holy Father's second "Jesus of Nazareth" as spiritual reading for last Lent, but it didn't arrive from the UK until Passiontide. I'll be taking it up this year instead.