"We are always near the breaking-point when we care only for what is legal and nothing for what is lawful."
"The New Immoral Philosophy" from The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton: Volume XXVIII
Until four years ago, Lent was a very abstract concept for me because I had never learned to connect my sacrifice with prayer or with creating a better me. I would always give up a creature comfort like tea or some favorite food; however, the buck stopped there. I never considered how giving up tea was teaching me to love my fellow man or how I could see Christ in my suffering. I was only following the legalities of Mother Church not the law written on my heart.
Four years ago, I re-discovered Septuagesima Sunday at our parish in Mississippi. Septuagesima Sunday marks the beginning of the pre-Lenten season in the old calendar of the Church (pre 1970). It is a time of preparation and discernment. To me, its like training before the marathon of Lent, and I always need some spiritual preparation before Lent.
Septuagesima allows me time to pray, discern, and prepare myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for Lent. I have found that over time my Lenten seasons have become simpler and more meaningful because I have learned more and more how to connect my sacrifices to actual growth.
How we prepare (or rather attempt to prepare) our house for Lent during Septuagesima:
1. We add a quiet period of reflection to our nights before retiring. My husband and I both take 15 minutes to pray or journal or a nightly examination.
2. We eat the meat in our freezers as well as any meat stocks or freezer meals with meat, since we are lacto-ovo vegetarians for Lent.
3. We add a Saint story for the chickadees each night after the decade of Rosary they say.