February 19 after the hour of None: The season of Septuagesima


We come now to one of those times of the year that has been unfortunately suppressed in the new calendar.

The nature of Septuagesimatide

In the traditional calendar, instead of going cold turkey into Lent, we have a three week pre-Lent period of preparation. 

Of course in the Benedictine calendar, pre-Lent started traditionally at least back in November if one follows the Rules fasting regime!  For this reason presumably, Benedictines did not adopt Septuagesima until quite late, in the twelfth century According to Dom Gueranger, by Papal order.

The most immediate change to the liturgy is the 'burying' of the Alleluia, the subject of assorted rituals from different regions, and its replacement in the opening prayers to each hour by 'Laus tibi, Domine, Rex aeterne gloriae'.

But there is also an intensification of the Office, with increased use of specific antiphons and other texts with a focus on helping us remember why we need to do penance.

I Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday

The Magnificat antiphon for Vespers today refers to the Fall, reflecting the fact that at Matins from Sunday the Scripture readings are from the Book of Genesis. 

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