13 February 2006

Earnestly & Fervently

For those utilizing the historic Western lectionary and the Western way of calculating Easter--that is, for a handful of traditionalist Lutherans, the Anglo-Catholics, Tridentine Catholics (but not the Western Rite Orthodox)--Septuagesima began yesterday. In other words, it's 9 weeks (or roughly 70 days) until Easter. (Go here for an overview of the Septuagesima season.)

This is truly a unique time in the Church Year. For the per annum color of green gives way to the purple of Lent; yet the fast has not yet begun. So how do we keep these days?

As recounted in Dom Prosper Gueranger's "The Liturgical Year," we have this advice from a sermon by St Ivo of Chartres (a 12th century saint):

During these days, we must do what we do at all seasons of the year, only we must do it more earnestly and fervently: we must sigh and weep after our country [heaven], from which we were exiled in consequence of having indulged in sinful pleasure; we must redouble our efforts in order to regain it by compunction and weeping of heart. ... Let us now shed tears in the way, that we may afterwards be glad in our country. Let us now so run the race of this present life, that we may make sure of "the prize of the supernal vocation." (Phil 3.14) Let us not be imprudent wayfarers, forgetting our country, and preferring our banishment to our home. Let us not become like those senseless invalids, who feel not their ailments, and seek no remedy. We despair of the sick man who will not be persuaded that he is in danger. No; let us run to our Lord, the physician of eternal salvation. Let us show Him our wounds, and cry out to Him with all our earnestness: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak: heal me, for my bones are troubled." (Ps 6.3) Then will He forgive us our iniquities, heal us of our infirmities, and satisfy our desire with good things. (Ps 102.3,5)

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