Call Me Catholic

It’s Sexagesima Sunday

Yep, this Sunday is Sexagesima Sunday, in the Old Calendar.  Kind of a funny name, no?  It means that we’re on the threshold of Lent.  Are you ready?

Septuagesima, Sexagesima, & Quinquagesima Sundays

In the Old Calendar, the three Sundays prior to Ash Wednesday were specifically dedicated to preparing one for Lent, and they have funny, Latin names: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima.  They mean, seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth, which is to say, it’s roughly 70 days until Easter, 60 days until Easter, and fifty days until Easter.  This next Sunday, we’ll be at Sexagesima.  Clear as mud?

Well, in the Old Calendar during the three weeks prior to the actual start of Lent, priests wore violet vestments and certain elements of the Mass were dropped, like the Gloria and Alleluia.  (In fact, there’s a sweet tradition of physically burying the Alleluia, only to dig it up again at Easter.)  All of these things were meant to get you thinking.  Sober up, people!  Let’s start preparing.

The 3 Pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, & Almsgiving

During these fore-lenten Sundays, my husband and I like to begin preparing for Lent.  We take a look at the classic 3 pillars of lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Below I’ll offer a few thoughts for you all to consider.

Prayer:

  1. Do you set aside a time to pray, every single day?  If not, what’s stopping you?
  2. For those of you who are married, are you praying with your spouse?  Every day?
  3. Or how about praying Compline in the evenings?  (There’s an excellent book, The Office of Compline, by Fr. Samuel Weber.)
  4. For those of you with children, are you praying with them every day?
  5. How about a family rosary?
  6. Fathers, are you blessing your children every day?
  7. And finally, go to confession!  At bare, rock-bottom minimum, go at least once this season.  If you’d like a challenge, consider going every week or so.
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Again, go to confession!  You won’t regret it.

Fasting:

Fasting is the second great pillar of Lent.  In our culture, this one gets ignored a lot.  And we need it.  I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Mark 9:28-29, “And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast [the demon] out?”  And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”

Do you have something in your life that needs casting out?  Try fasting.  Do you know of someone who really needs Jesus?  Try fasting.

If you’ve never done this before, start small  Give up one meal a week.

If you’re accustomed to weekly fasting, try two days a week.

Almsgiving:

This one’s a little tricky, as every family is in a different place financially.  If you’d like a little more on what the Church officially says, click HERE for Jimmy Akin’s take on tithing and giving.

The point during Lent is to work towards the virtue of generosity – the virtue of being unattached to material goods and in gift giving.  During Lent, one may look at it in two ways:

  1. How can our family work towards giving more of our total income?
  2. In what ways am I able to make a monetary sacrifice during Lent to benefit a charity?

The first one…again, as each family is different, this one cannot have some uniform answer.  Wherever you’re at on this one, take a step towards giving more of your total income.  If you’re currently giving 1%, try 2%.  For those of you who’d like a stricter guideline, I once read somewhere to shoot for 5% of your income to your local church, 4% to any charity, and 1% to the Bishop.  This would be a true 10% tithe.  (The word tithe means one tenth.)

If you really want a challenge, and are already tithing 10% of your income, then consider giving 10% of your total income before taxes.  And tithe that bonus too.

The second point…during Lent make an additional monetary sacrifice.  For example, maybe you are accustomed to dining out a few times each month.  Consider not eating out, and expressly give that budgeted money away to your favorite charity.

In the end, God cannot be outdone in generosity, and He will reward you!  Just take the first step.

And Lastly, a Lenten Challenge

Have you ever wondered what it was like for most Catholics throughout the history of our Church to pray the Mass?  I mean, what was it like for St. Catherine of Siena to receive the Eucharist?    Or which Mass inspired the great writings of St. Thomas Aquinas?  Or the great missionaries?

For nearly 2000 years Catholics have been worshipping the same way at the Latin Mass, and if you’ve got one near you, check it out.  Don’t worry about not understanding everything.  Most places have hand missals, if you’d like to follow along.  (But you don’t have to.)

If you live around here, we’ve got one this Sunday at Christ the King Church in Mandan at 11:30.  I’d love to see you there.

Life is Worth Living

Wherein I Offer 3 Articles You Must Read

This last week my family and I moved to a new home.  Deo gratias.

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This is me celebrating with a glass of port at my in-laws.  Not at my new house.  More on that later.

As you can imagine, I am busy unpacking.

So today I offer 3 articles that you should read.  They all come from New Liturgical Movement. And if you have a spare minute, do yourself a favor and read one of them right now.

Here they are:

  1. I’m sick of ugly buildings.  Are you?  David Clayton spells it out for us HERE.  And I’ve added two photos for your contemplation.
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Photo #1.  Ugly Building.  The Capitol of North Dakota.
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Photo #2.  Beautiful Building.  Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

 

2.  Do you have sons?  If they are discerning a vocation to the priesthood, what kind of seminary would you have them attend?  Dr. Kwasniewski writes about this by showing different vocational videos.  One is demanding and requires sacrifice; the other is wishy-washy and features happy-go-lucky seminarians and cardinals.  Click HERE for it.

3.  Why, oh why, can’t we get this right at Mass?  Music matters.  Music becomes a part of us, and if we continually fill ourselves with emotional schmaltzy jingles, then that’s what we’ll become.

Cardinal Sarah gets it.  You should just read what he writes HERE about Gregorian Chant.  My husband has been reading this article out loud to the children (well, and me too) at supper.

You might also consider buying both of Sarah’s books.

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Now here’s a man.  God or Nothing.
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The Power of Silence.  Your library is incomplete without both of these.

And one more thing.  An invite.

If you happen to be in the Bismarck/Mandan area, and would like to experience the Mass of the Ages, come to Christ the King Catholic Church this Sunday, October 28, at 11:30am.

Fr. Nick Schneider will offer the Extraordinary Form the Mass.  You know, the Mass that St. Maximillian Kolbe celebrated.  The Mass that St. Thomas Aquinas wrote about.  The Mass that St. Therese the Little Flower loved.

And there’s a potluck afterwards, if you want to stay and visit.  I’d love to meet you.

Book Review

Dr. Kwasniewski Announces New Reprints

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It is no secret.  I am a BIG fan of Dr. Kwasniewski.  Click HERE for my review of his book Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness.

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So, when I recently read on New Liturgical Movement about the reprints of five books, put out by Os Justi Press, which is Kwasniewski’s republishing entity, I immediately took notice and clicked over to Amazon and threw one in my cart.

Let me advise you, run over to NLM, read the article, and do yourself a favor and buy one or more, especially if you homeschool, and especially if you happen to be studying the English Reformation, for two of the books are historical novels written by Robert Hugh Benson.

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Here they are: By What Authority? and The King’s Achievement

In an email to a friend of mine Kwasniewski wrote, “These two novels by Benson are simply the best unit studies for the periods of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. We read them aloud in our family and couldn’t put them down. My children have returned to them. They make this crucial piece of Catholic history come alive.”

I need no convincing that these novels are excellent, as I am already a fan of Benson, having devoured Come Rack! Come Rope! a few years ago.  But I’m also excited about the little book on vocation discernment that Kwasniewski is also reprinting.  It’s called Vocations by Fr. William Doyle, and really, you should go read the description of it on NLM.

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What am I reading right now?

In the end, I want to thank Dr. Kwasniewski for his hard work in putting out good material for us to read.  My husband is currently reading Pius Parsch’s The Breviary Explained, also reprinted by Os Justi Press.  It’s excellent, and I’m learning so much, as my husband likes to read passages out loud to me.

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My husband’s book.  If you pray Morning Prayer, or any other Office, you need this book.

And I’m reading Kwasniewski’s Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis, and honestly, right now, it’s making me mad.  I feel as if I’ve been cheated out of our rich Catholic heritage.  Maybe I’ll do a book review of it later on.