Saturday, February 20, 2010

Holy Days During Lent

I have been asked if it was proper to celebrate the feast days of Saints during Lent. The answer is yes. Although Lent is a time of preparation the Easter, the only time during which such celebrations are prohibited is during Holy Week itself. These days focus solely upon the Passion and Death of Our Lord and Savior. This also holds true for the octave of Easter. All of the days from Easter to Low Sunday (Quasimodogeniti) admit no feast whatsoever. For example, if March 25th, the Annunciation, falls during Holy Week (or Easter week) it is always transferred to the first free day after Low Sunday.

This year, St. Matthias Day (February 24) is the Wednesday after Invocabit. At this Mass the Gloria in Excelsis is sung; but the tract replaces the Alleluia Verse. This would be the pattern for any feast celebrated during Lent; but outside of Holy Week.

The historic Gradual is from Psalm 139:17-18 - How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.

The Tract is from Psalm 21:2-3 - Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. For Thou hast prevented him with the blessings of goodness: and setest a crown of pure gold on his head.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Calendar, Ash Wednesday, and Other Things

A calendar lets you know the times and seasons, the days and the months; but some calendars deliver other assorted bits of information.

Working in a chiefly RC bookstore, I find odd tidbits of information in the strangest of places - calendars. While browsing a diary style calendar, I noticed that is had a number of entries of the "Did You Know" type. I present the following for your consideration.

A. Did you know...
"The Sundays of Lent are considered "Little Easters;" no fasting or penance is necessary on these days. Since Lent has six Sundays, the season is 46 days long in order to assure the full forty days' penance."

And how is this done? With six weeks having only six days of penance (fasting), you have only 36 days during Lent. Where do the other four come in? They start on Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday make up the additional days, for a total of 40.
Add the six Lenten Sundays to the 40 days of fasting and you have 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

B. Did you know ...
The Easter Octave is a privileged octave. No other feast or commemoration is permitted during the octave. Therefore, the Friday in the Easter Octave is not a day of penance (fasting). (Actually, the same holds true the the Pentecost Octave, but this calendar failed to mention it.)

C. Did you know ...
The practice of substituting the recitation of Psalms or the giving of alms for a portion of the penitential fast is sanctioned in the Irish Synod of 807, which says that the fast of the second day of the week may be 'redeemed' by singing one Psalter or by giving a dinarius to a poor person.

D. Did you know ...
The edict of Milan (315 AD) made Christianity legal in Rome; but it did not become the official faith of the empire until 379 AD.

E. Did you know ...
When water from the Jordan River is used in the ritual for baptism, the blessing over the water is omitted; Jesus blessed it already by permitting himself to be baptized there.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Presentation of Our Lord & the Purification of Mary

Introit: We have thought of Thy lovingkindness, O God: in the midst of Thy temple.
according to Thy Name, O God, so is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of righteousness.
Ps: Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Glory be to the Father,...

Gradual: We have thought of Thy lovingkindness, O God: in the midst of Thy temple.
according to Thy Name, O God, so is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Halleluia. I will worship toward Thy holy Temple: and will praise Thy Name. Halleluia.

Offertory: Grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever, and for ages of ages.

Question: How, then, did a groundhog come to have top billing on February 2?