Forgive the lateness of this post, but I have been with good friends all day (and what a lovely day I had - the only bad thing was having to go home to more belli domestici). Today is of course Septuagesima, with seventy days until the great Pascha, and the Church begins this ''semi-penitential'' season with a beautiful (and personally pertinent) Introit:
Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis, dolores inferni circumdederunt me: et in tribulatione mea invocavi Dominum, et exaudivit de templo sancto suo vocem meam. Diligam te, Domine, fortitudo mea: Dominus firmamentum meum, et refugiam meam, et liberator meus. Gloria Patri.
The sighs of death have surrounded me, the sorrows of hell have encompassed me: and in my plight I have called upon the Lord, and he has heard my voice from his holy temple. I shall love you, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my support, and my refuge, and my deliverer. Glory be to the Father.
Now, I think, is the time to give earnest thought as to the Lenten fast. Before I ''converted'' to the Old Rite, I never properly conceived of the magnitude of the Great Pascha, and a sort of ante-fast to the great fast (which seems to me to be the character of the gesima weeks) seems very opportune in this respect. I fast too little, and often ''forget'' to do so on the Vigils of Feasts, and I failed just before the ''finish line'' during Lent last year. By the Grace of God, this will not happen again...