Preparing for Lent | Full Homely Divinity

Pre-Lent and Lent - Expanded

Lent is sometimes referred to as a pilgrimage or a journey. Very few people set out on any kind of journey without packing a bag. What are the things that we need to include in our Lenten luggage?

Source: Preparing for Lent | Full Homely Divinity

Today – Sunday, January 28th – is Septuagesima Sunday, the Third Sunday before Lent, and the First Sunday of Pre-Lent, or as it has traditionally been called in the English (Anglican) tradition, Shrovetide. It is approximately 70 days before Lent.

As this essay accurately asks, “Since Lent is itself a season of preparation, it may seem like overkill to have to prepare for Lent. Yet, how will we take full advantage of the opportunity of Lent if we wait until the last minute to decide how to keep it?” It then goes on to discuss how this season of Pre-Lent can help us to experience a more holy and fruitful Lenten season. Here is but one excerpt:

“Many Christians have a formal rule of life which they observe throughout the year. Their Lenten rule will usually add a few seasonal exercises. For those who do not already have a formal, year-round rule, Lent is a good opportunity to begin one. The purpose of a rule of life is not to set impossibly high standards that might be admirable but are not practical. A rule of life must fit the person.

“A new Christian or someone new to the whole idea of a rule of life will have a more modest rule than an older, more proficient Christian. So, the elements in the invitation above need to be tailored to the maturity of the individual. (A spiritual companion or director can be very helpful here.) A runner might hope someday to run a marathon, but it may take years of training at shorter distances to build the stamina and strength to achieve that goal.”

“Holiness of life is the goal of every Christian, but progress towards that goal is a lifelong task, not the accomplishment of a single Lent. At the same time, the basics of a Lenten rule can set a pattern for a lifetime of spiritual growth.”

As I have commented so many times, I adjure you to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the wisdom contained in this essay.


Note: the author(s) of Full Homely Divinity are operating out of the milieu of the 1979 Prayer Book, but do not let that dissuade nor frighten you! If there were more people who view that text, as these folks do, from the context of the Anglican tradition as a whole, there would be far fewer issues with it.

Re-Asserting a Feminine Tradition – Crisis Magazine

I wear the chapel veil at Mass as an affirmation and an embrace of my feminine difference. According to the ancient traditions of the Church, only women may be veiled in the presence of God…

Tradition binds us together and gives our faith a richness, mystery, and depth that the modern world finds frightening because it cannot be satisfactorily explained.

Source: Re-Asserting a Feminine Tradition – Crisis Magazine

I post about this periodically because I think that veiling – while always voluntary and optional – is a powerful symbol of femininity, and the sacred distinctiveness of women, at a time when our popular, secular society seems to be bound, bent, and determined to eradicate true distinctiveness in, ironically, the name of “diversity.” So this article is particularly powerful, for me, because the author is a woman who is saying the same thing… only much better than I could, and “from the inside,” so to speak. Here are a few excerpts:

“The problem is, the modern world is trying to liberate us from ourselves. Modern society demands that women be able to compete with men, to show that there is nothing actually different about us. The modern world, for all of its lip-service to diversity, is terrified of differences. It does not know how to cope with true differences because it can only see relationships in terms of power struggles: who can best whom, who is oppressing whom? If you are different, if you have a different nature then, the modern world concludes, it must be because some tyrannical force is keeping you from your full potential to be exactly the same as everyone else.

“But true equality is not sameness. God created us male and female and found us to be very good, but he did not ever intend to create us exactly the same, with irrelevant bodily differences that can be hacked off, ignored, or chemically altered as we see fit. God is entirely too fine a craftsman for that… The contraceptive mentality of the modern world is attempting to eradicate this difference, this distinctively feminine difference, in pursuit of its value of sameness that it has mistaken for equality. In these days, when the life of the unborn is held rather cheaply, and the family is under assault, I wear the chapel veil as an embrace of my distinctly feminine nature.”

Two other points, one specific to veiling, the other more general:

“According to the ancient traditions of the Church, only women may be veiled in the presence of God… Men are not allowed to cover their heads in church. When the bishop and the pope remove their head coverings, they are submitting themselves in humility before the presence of God, not asserting some sort of male superiority with their bare heads. When more of society wore hats, it was a much more obvious sign, but even today, we acknowledge that when a man removes his hat, it is a sign of deference and respect—and if you need a reminder, pay attention the next time the national anthem is sung.”

That is powerful. As I said, veiling is voluntary and optional. But for those who choose to participate, this is something they can do that men cannot: women alone are allowed to be veiled, to have their heads covered in the presence of God. Men, in contrast, must “uncover,” they must remove their hats in God’s presence. This is something I was sorta-kinda aware of – of course I knew since childhood that I had to take my hat off in church – but this nonetheless really rather smacked me in the face. There’s more that she shares about this in the article, and it’s worth reading.

And then there’s this, which I quoted at the beginning:

“Tradition binds us together and gives our faith a richness, mystery, and depth that the modern world finds frightening because it cannot be satisfactorily explained.”

To which I can only say, amen!