Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pre-Lent:It's what it says.

I wish that the modern calendar still had the mini-season of pre-lent.
We so often hear of priests and laity saying the equivalent of "Oh wow, Lent already?" That's because it comes to quickly. We're basking in the afterglow of the post-Epiphany Sundays, when suddenly, everything is gone.The alleluia is gone, the gloria is gone, as we suddenly find ourselves in a period of harsh penance and discipline. Some say that this is good, that it's almost better to have it all gone in a moment to shock us into the reality of sin and losing the nearness of God. I could agree with that. But taking things practically, it does'nt work. From experience, I don't really get into keeping my lenten disciplines until far into the third week of lent. Before that, it's a smattering of missed fast days, unread spiritual books , and charitable works completely forgotten. Even with all the purple and the daily office, I sometimes forget that I'm in lent.

This year, however, I'm observing the 'gesimas in my own way. I'm carefully adding some of things I'll do in lent. I've made Wednesday a fast day, but not abstinence from meat. Friday is a day of total abstinence, but not a fast day yet. I've started reading just one chapter daily of St.Alphonsus Liguori's "The Way of Salvation and Perfection", and I'm attempting lectio divina for now, with the scriptural readings from Genesis. This way, when lent comes, I can keep it properly. I won't forget to abstain, or to read my spiritual reading, or to say the Penitential Psalms, because I've been halfway doing some of that stuff already. I can leap into lent, not limp into it. Let's just see how it goes and pray that Rome will see the wisdome ofthe Pre-Lent Sundays.

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