"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quinquagesima Sunday: Prepare For Battle - Fr. Z

 Quinquagesima Sunday: prepare for battle

QuinquagesimaIn our traditional Roman calendar Sunday isQuinquagesima, Latin for the symbolic “Fiftieth” day before Easter.   This the final pre-Lenten Sunday before for the annual discipline of Lent begins.
The prayers and readings for the pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604).
The Consilium’s liturgical engineers under Annibale Bugnini and others eliminated these pre-Lent Sundays, much to our detriment.
Those who participate at Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form will see that the priest’s vestments are purple. A Tract is sung in place of anAlleluia.
COLLECT:Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi:atque, a peccatorum vinculis absolutos,ab omni nos adversitate custodi.
This prayer is found in the ancient Liber Sacramentorum Augustodunensis and the L.S. Engolismensis.  I cannot find it in any form in the post-Conciliar editions of the Missale Romanum.
You won’t find Quinquagesima in the post-Conciliar Missal either!  But I think you’ve gotten my point.
The ponderous Lewis & Short Dictionary reminds us that absolvo means “to loosen from, to make loose, set free, detach, untie” or in juridical language “to absolve from a charge, to acquit, declare innocent”.  The priest uses this word when he absolves you of the bonds of your sins.  Vinculum is “that with which any thing is bound, a band, bond, rope, cord, fetter, tie”.  This bond can be literal, as in physical fetters, or it can be moral or some sort of state.  You can be bound in charity or peace, or bound in damnation or sin.  In the case if sin, in liturgical prayer we find a form of vinculum or its plural with “loosing” verbs such as absolvo or resolvo or dissolvo.
In ancient prayer the state of sin conceived as a place in which we are bound.  The bonds must be loosed so that we can escape and be free.
In the whole of the post-Conciliar Missal I don’t believe the combination peccata absolvere is found, but it is in ancient collections.  Apparently it isn’t a post-Conciliar concern.  One finds the phrase with some additional term such as “bonds” or “ties” of sins.
We beseech You, O Lord, graciously attend to our prayers:
and, having been loosed from the fetters of sins,
guard us from every adversity.

What is the first thing an enemy does to you, once you are captured?  He renders you powerless to do your own will.
The Sacrament of Penance is the great gift.
We must strive to live without mortal sin.  But we fall.  We pray to God to protect us from the dire consequences of sin, including the attacks of the Enemy, which on our own without God’s help we cannot resist.  Among the benefits of the Sacrament of Penance, along with being freed from the chains of sins, is a strengthening to resist sin in the future.
These prayers of the pre-Lenten Sundays are meant to help us ready the stores in our interior fortresses before the spiritual battle of Lent.
We must empty out what doesn’t serve and be filled with that which does.
Prepare yourselves for battle and Lent’s discipline.

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