Every year people say that Lent creeps up on you like a thief in the night, and that this is why the Church should never have done away with Septuagesima, which is like a minor thief, the allegiances of which seem uncertain, who for some reason comes two and a half weeks beforehand and somehow (cough cough nudge nudge) does his best to wake us up to the big guy (full name: Quadragesima) sloping on up the hill, ready to squat in our lives for the next month and a half.

I’m making this sound like a really great time of the year, aren’t I!

In fact what happens to me is that around Epiphany I flip through my brand spanking new diary, writing in important dates, and then I calculate how many weeks there are between Candlemas and Septuagesima, have a minor meltdown, and then retreat to twitter or skype to bemoan how fast the year is going.

I need to work on whinging. I’m much too good at it.

Be all that as it may – the (psychological) fact of the matter is that for me at least I can’t just wake up on Shrove Tuesday and expect myself to have The Plan™ sorted by Mass on Ash Wednesday. It’s a happy thing, then, that God and His Church together have some pretty decent (psychological) insights.

Of course, before I Jumped The Insert-River-Name-In-Here* and became a very bad traddy I couldn’t appreciate this properly. I certainly knew of Septuagesima, and thought I had a decent idea of the mechanics and purpose and stuff, but like other things in life it’s just best learnt by doing – so I wonder whether anyone who’s not yet at least toe-dipped the traddy waters can grasp how it works. But when Ash Wednesday itself is so involved, when it can leave your singing voice dazed and confused, when all these antiphons and readings are just so much more accusing about your own culpability in the continuing suffering of Christ**…yes, then you need some time to gear up for the fight.

As usual there was Quarant’Ore at church. Here’s a photo of the second evening:

Fr. K. wants MOAR PHOTOS, so I’m exploring some nice ways of putting them online. I tried before, with That Photo Blog, but it attracted some nasty comments so I don’t think I’ll be resurrecting that.

Meanwhile I’ve got an intensified prayer thing going on, have given up stuff, and have selected a book to read. I’ll post about that latter in the next few days; what I’ve read so far is rather excellent (but then I’m biased).

Right. Lent. Bring it on! We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us….

* ‘Swimming the Tiber’ means becoming Catholic. ‘Swimming the Bosphorus’ means switching to Eastern Orthodoxy. Perhaps ‘Swimming the Thames’ would mean becoming Anglican. I don’t know of an appropriate river to mention whilst making the (intra-Catholic) switch to the dreaded traddiness.

** Or, strictly speaking, is Christ’s suffering not prolonged? There must be an ecumenical council that dealt with this question. Of course I was born after Vatican II so I know nuffink.

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