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February 17, 2014 by lucieromarin

I’ve always liked Septuagesima Sunday, because ‘Septuagesima’ is long and sounds impressive, and, when I encountered it in a novel of an Anglican bent after discovering it in real life, it gave me the pleasant sensation of being erudite and vaguely cultured.

I also like Septuagesima Sunday because, being a time of preparation, it means that Ash Wednesday doesn’t hit me like a swinging crane. It’s a warm-up; it’s the stretches before the race. It also gives you time to plot your Lenten penances. One year, I gave up meat, television, and sugar, and that was bad. Father Director thought I was insane, and made me eat three helpings of meat on his birthday. Another year, I gave up unsolicited negative opinion, and the year after that, I gave up all unsolicited opinion, and those were the most difficult and the most rewarding Lents of my entire life. Actually, last year I enjoyed the following conversation:

Guy: Lucy, are you okay?

I: Yes, of course – why?

Guy: Well, you were just really quiet during practice.

I: Oh, that’s because I’ve given up unsolicited opinion for Lent.


Well, to disclose my Lenten intentions this year would make for a fascinating post, but would also involve violating the privacy of half-a-dozen people, so all I can say is that this Lent, when it arrives, is going to be thoroughly roadkill-themed. If you’ll excuse a pious thought for a moment, it did occur to me that when the holy women went to the tomb, still grieving, the Resurrection had already happened. That is, everything was fixed before they knew it was fixed. So I’m going to pray in the hope that the same applies here – that the graces have already been given and souls are healing, and I simply don’t know it yet.

Here’s a quirky thing to end with. The Alleluia is suppressed from Septuagesima Sunday onwards, and it used to be the custom to bury it – literally. You’d write the word beautifully on parchment, encase it in something enduring, bury it, and resurrect it on Easter Sunday! Here, in fact, are some Texan Episcopalians doing this very thing.

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