Quinquagesima Sunday, and Notes on Fasting

Introit   Be unto me a God, a Protector, and a house of refuge, to save me: for You are my strength and my refuge: and for Your Name’s sake You will lead me, and nourish me. Psalm. In You, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in Your justice, and save me. ℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. — Be thou …

Collect   We beseech You, O Lord, graciously hear our prayers: and releasing us from the bonds of our sins, guard us from all adversity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. 

Epistle Brethren: If I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity,  I  am  nothing.  And if I should distribute  all  my goods  to feed  the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envies not, deals not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeks not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinks no evil, rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth: bears all things, believeth all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Charity never falls away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

Gradual   You are the God that alone dost wonders: You hast made Your power known among the nations. With Thine arm You hast delivered Your people, the children of Israel and of Joseph. Tract   Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. Come in before His presence with exceeding great joy: know ye that the Lord He is God. He made us, and not we ourselves: but we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Gospel (Luke 18:31-43) At that time Jesus took unto Him the twelve and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of those things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto Him. And when he was come near, He asked him, saying: What do you me to do to you? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive Your sight, Your faith hath made you whole. And immediately he saw and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Offertory   Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your justifications: with my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of Your mouth.

Secret  May these Offerings, we beseech You, O Lord, cleanse us from our sins: and by sanctifying Your servants in body and mind, make them fit to celebrate this Sacrifice. Through our Lord …

Communion (Psalm 77:29-30) They did eat, and were filled exceedingly, and the Lord gave them their desire: they were not defrauded of that which they craved.

Postcommunion We beseech You, almighty God, that we, who have received this heavenly Food, may be safeguarded by it against all adversity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …



The reasons for Lent are “first, in order to curb the concupiscence of the flesh; then, to facilitate the elevation of our souls toward divine realities; finally, to make satisfaction for our sins.” In this, we follow the example of the saints and even of the Lord Himself. The chief notes of Lent are, perhaps one can say, “prayer and penance”. We can intensify our prayer by making greater efforts to pray with intention. A great help with this is to stop and think for a little bit before I go to Mass or bring my prayer. It is also good to say the Stations of the Cross, at least once a week. Be early, and concentrate on your prayers. Have a special intention, e.g. for the suffering souls in Purgatory, especially those who have no one to pray for them. Another good work which we are specially asked to remember in Lent is almsgiving: being charitable to the poor. It is good to give something directly to effective charities such as the St Vincent de Paul Society.

During Lent, we have two special disciplines of food: abstinence and fasting. Abstinence is not eating meat or meat juices or soup (that is, not eating any flesh, or any soup or juices made from it, other than seafood). During Lent, all the faithful from the age of seven were bound by the rule of abstinence for all Fridays of the year and Saturdays of Lent. I would recommend no sweets and no soft drink during Lent – at all. One can obtain permission from a priest not to abstain but to do something else instead (e.g. a person who medically needed meat can be allowed to eat that, but then not to watch any t.v.). Fasting was understood to mean taking only one full meal a day throughout the whole of Lent (Sundays only excepted), but to that one could add two “collations” or quite small meals, one in the morning, one in the evening which, when combined do not exceed one full meal. During Lent, all the faithful from the age of seven were bound by the rule of fasting from the ages of 18 to 60. One can obtain permission from a priest not to fast but to do something else instead (e.g. a person who medically was unable to fast can be excused from this, but then perhaps not to drink favourite drinks such as tea or coffee and to visit the sick). Other possible penances include drinking or eating something you actually dislike instead of what you do like, not having any sauce with your food, getting off the bus one stop early, doing ten push-ups, and so on.

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