Celebrated on the Third Sunday before the First Sunday of Lent, Septuagesima is both the name of this third Sunday before Lent as well as the season itself that runs from this day up until Ash Wednesday. This lesson will touch on the ancient season of Septuagesima, the purpose of this season as a preparation for Lent, and the consequences of sin in light of the readings today.
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Liturgical Changes for Septuagesima:
In the pre-1970 Roman Catholic liturgy, the Alleluia ceases to be said during today's Liturgy for Septuagesima. At first Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday, two alleluias are added to the closing verse of Benedicamus Domino and its response, Deo gratias, as during the Easter Octave, and, starting at Compline, it is no longer used until Easter.
Likewise, violet vestments are worn, except on feasts, from Septuagesima Sunday until Holy Thursday. As during Advent and Lent, the Gloria and Te Deum are no longer said on Sundays. The readings at Matins for this week are the first few chapters of Genesis, telling of the creation of the world, of Adam and Eve, the fall of man and resulting expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and the story of Cain and Abel.
In the following weeks before and during Lent, the readings continue to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. The Gospel reading for Septuagesima week is the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)
The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.
HISTORY OF SEPTUAGESIMA
The season of Septuagesima comprises the three weeks immediately preceding Lent. It forms one of the principal divisions of the liturgical year, and is itself divided into three parts, each part corresponding to a week: the first is called Septuagesima; the second Sexagesima; the third, Quinquagesima.
All three are named from their numerical reference to Lent, which, in the language of the Church, is called Quadragesima, that is, Forty, because the great feast of Easter is prepared for by the holy exercises of forty days. The words Quinquagesima, Sexagesima, and Septuagesima, tell us of the same great solemnity as looming in the distance, and as being the great object towards which the Church would have us now begin to turn all our thoughts, and desires, and devotion.
Now, the feast of Easter must be prepared for by forty days of recollectedness and penance. Those forty days are one of the principal seasons of the liturgical year, and one of the most powerful means employed by the Church for exciting in the hearts of her children the spirit of their Christian vocation. It is of the utmost importance that such a season of grace should produce its work in our souls — the renovation of the whole spiritual life. The Church, therefore, has instituted a preparation for the holy time of Lent. She gives us the three weeks of Septuagesima, during which she withdraws us, as much as may be, from the noisy distractions of the world, in order that our hearts may b... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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