17 February 2007

Quinquagesima Sunday

Tomorrow is Quiquagesima Sunday in the traditional calendar, marking the fifty day period before Easter. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

For many early Christians it was the beginning of the fast before Easter...For some, Quinquagesima marked the time after which meat was forbidden ...Where abstinence from meat began earlier, this Sunday introduced the time in which neither milk nor eggs etc, (ova et lacticinia) were allowed...In many places this Sunday and the next two days were used to prepare for Lent by a good confession; hence in England we find the names Shrove Sunday and Shrovetide.

Since I discovered the traditional Mass two years ago I have enjoyed learning and experiencing the richness of the traditions of the Church, developed over centuries, that seem to have been so carelessly cast aside in the last 40 years. I remember at my old parish how Lent would almost always sneak up on me, and on Ash Wednesday I had not given serious reflection to what I would "do" for Lent. I would often just choose some privation, sometimes a token one, without any reflection and without any plan or purpose.

In the traditional calendar, Lent doesn't sneak up on you. The Church establishes three consecutive Sundays-- Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, roughly and symbolically corresponding to periods of 70, 60, and 50 days before Easter. Those Sundays are penitential Sundays that don't affect the feast days during the week, but are a nice spiritual transition from the intense joy of Christmas to the desert of Lent.

It makes you wonder why it was jettisoned.

Again, from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

As the days before Lent were frequently spent in merry-making, Benedict XIV by the Constitution "Inter Cetera" (1 Jan., 1748) introduced a kind of Forty Hours' Devotion to keep the faithful from dangerous amusements and to make some reparation for sins committed.

To that end, check out the Forty Hours Devotion Schedule at St. Francis de Sales. http://www.institute-christ-king.org/documents/40Hours2007.pdf

Have a blessed and spiritually profitable Lent. Let us never forget to pray for the Holy Father.


teutonicknight said...

How do you mean it was jettisoned? Altogether ignored or just de-emphasized? No prep for lent before your Trad conversion? Were you lukewarm before your Trad conversion and after your conversion just started to take everything more serious? Sounds like you needed a spiritual director. Do you have one now?

wolftracker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thetimman said...


Feel free to link your novus ordo parish missalette's masses for Septuagesima, Sexagesima or Quinquagesima Sunday and I'll let you know if it has been jettisoned or merely "deemphasized".

teutonicknight said...

Upon closer inspection that would be "jettisoned". So that leaves my other question. Were you fervent before or after your conversion to the Trad Mass? When did you cast off your cloak of lukewarmness?

thetimman said...


Thanks for the acknowledgement on "jettisoned". The reason I didn't respond before to the question about my spiritual growth was that I wasn't sure if it was a sincere question, and I didn't want to be flippant if it was.

I can say that as far as my spiritual fervor, it is not now nor was it then what it ought to be, considering the sacrifice Christ made for me. I think if I ever think I've "made it", it is a sure sign of trouble.

That being said, I see my conversion to a more traditional practice of Catholicism to be a result of and a further cause of progress in the faith. My story is probably pretty typical in that I was raised in the faith, got lax in college, and became more devout as I have grown older. The traditional Mass has simply been the most amazing thing to happen to me. It feels exactly as if I have come home. If you have the opportunity, I recommend giving it a try-- give it at least 5-10 Masses to work through the unfamiliarity of it.

I would also recommend reading the Ottaviani intervention, which is easily found through a Google search. Oh, and Martin Mosebach's "The Heresy of Formlessness" is very compelling.

Have a holy and blessed Lent.