So, what is this funny word? Septuagesima literally translates to 70, as in 70 days before Easter and is actually the ninth Sunday before Easter. The purpose behind Septuagesima is for the faithful to begin thinking about Lent and what your penance for Lent might be. Septuagesima is not a time of fasting and penance, it is a time of preparation. Lent starts in two and a half weeks, on Ash Wednesday.
So why do we fast during Lent? The Season of Lent, forty days, represents the forty days Jesus spent in fasting and prayer in the desert before entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. For Lent, we offer up something, and it does not have to be huge - but it should be something you would normally do or partake in every day. By offering up something you do all the time - it provides you an opportunity to think of WHY you are offering it up. You offer it up in union with Christ's sufferings, not only in remembrance of his forty days of fasting but also of His Passion and death on the Cross. So, if you give up chocolate, or coffee, or sodas, or desserts, or whatever you choose - so long as it is something you would participate in regularly and will give you that moment of meditation on Christ's suffering which was FOR YOU.
Why is Septuagesima not in the Ordinary Rite of the Catholic Church?
We'll answer that in the next posting!