WDTPRS – Quinquagesima Sunday: Prepare for the fight of your life!

QuinquagesimaIn our traditional Roman calendar, this coming Sunday is Quinquagesima, Latin for the symbolic “Fiftieth” day before Easter.  This is one of the pre-Lenten Sundays which prepare us for the discipline of Lent.

The priest’s vestments are purple. No Gloria.  No Alleluia. The prayers and readings for the pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604).

The Consilium’s liturgical engineers under Annibale Bugnini and others eliminated these pre-Lent Sundays, much to our detriment.  (Cf. BugniniCare).

Those who participate at Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form will hear that the Introit refers to the “rock” and the Roman Station today is at St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill.


Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: atque, a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi.

This prayer is found in the ancient Liber Sacramentorum Augustodunensis and the L.S. Engolismensis.  I cannot find this prayer in any form in the post-Conciliar editions of the Missale Romanum.

You won’t find Quinquagesima either!  Thanks, Bugnini!

The ponderous Lewis & Short Dictionary reminds us that absolvo means “to loosen from, to make loose, set free, detach, untie” or in juridical language “to absolve from a charge, to acquit, declare innocent”.  The priest uses this word when he absolves you of the bonds of your sins.  Vinculum is “that with which any thing is bound, a band, bond, rope, cord, fetter, tie”.  This bond can be literal, as in physical fetters, or it can be moral or some sort of state.  You can be bound in charity or peace, or bound in damnation or sin.  In the case if sin, in liturgical prayer we find a form of vinculum or its plural with “loosing” verbs such as absolvo or resolvo or dissolvo. In ancient prayer the state of sin conceived as a place in which we are bound.  The bonds must be loosed so that we can escape and be free.

In the whole of the post-Conciliar Missal I don’t believe the combination peccata absolvere is found, but it is in ancient collections.  One finds the phrase with some additional term such as “bonds” or “ties” of sins.


We beseech You, O Lord, graciously attend to our prayers: and, having been loosed from the fetters of sins, guard us from every adversity.

What is the first thing an enemy does to you, once you are captured? 

  • He disarms you.
  • He shackles you.
  • He renders you powerless to do your own will.

Even when we have fallen into sin, we retain free will, but our will is already weakened due to original and actual sin.  We can become so mired in sin that we can’t rule ourselves.

The Sacrament of Penance is a great gift.  It frees us from our self-inflicted chains.

We must strive to live without mortal sin.

But we fall.  In mortal sin we divest ourselves, as it were, of our spiritual armor. We make ourselves prisoners.

We pray to God to protect us from the dire consequences of sin, including the attacks of the Enemy, which on our own without God’s help we cannot resist.

Among the benefits of the Sacrament of Penance, along with being freed from the chains of sins, is a strengthening to resist sin in the future.

These prayers of the pre-Lenten Sundays are meant to help us ready the stores in our interior fortresses before the spiritual battle of Lent.

We must empty out what does not serve and be filled with that which does.

Prepare yourselves for battle and Lent’s discipline.


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7 Responses to WDTPRS – Quinquagesima Sunday: Prepare for the fight of your life!

  1. ajf1984 says:

    On the “Morning Air” program on Relevant Radio yesterday, the discussion was how to prepare for Lent, what spiritual practices might prove fruitful, etc. One of the callers suggested starting your Lenten observances a week before Ash Wednesday, noting that many of us struggle with our penances/added practices at the beginning of Lent, get discouraged, give them up, etc. Beginning our penitential practices earlier than the “official” start of Lent is a good way to militate against the discouragement, since if we fall short of the mark in our practices in the first few days, we will still have the full 40 days of Lent left to “right the ship,” so to speak.

    Parallels here with the ancient custom of “sliding” into Lent with the various Sundays before Lent already taking on their penitential character. Pity we lost these with the Calendar revision, but there’s nothing to stop your average pew-sitting Catholic from adopting the Lenten frame of mind, say, 70, 60, or 50 days before Easter! :-)

  2. Fallibilissimo says:

    What does a person do who feels really stuck, desperately wanting to change and never sin a particular type of sin (not talking about impurity) but fails so often he wonders if there even is a desire to change. It’s been hard to go to confession lately, I want to go with a certain demonstration to myself and God that I’ve actually done something that demonstrates a firm purpose of amendment. There are means to be accepted, but even there, it’s part of the package of the difficulty. I want to embrace the means of change with all my heart, no matter how prickly a cactus it may be, but I fail though (out of anxiety, out of fear and who knows what other failure I don’t even know).

    When I would go to confession very often, I didn’t see any differences in this particular sin. Certainly not very convincing to me. In others yes, but not here. As I reflect back, I wonder if all those confessions were invalid, maybe there was no firm purpose.

    I guess I’m asking, if one is very insecure of one’s “firm purpose of amendment” should he even approach the confessional? Is there some way to distinguish a true firm purpose of ammendament from a fanciful desire or a mere empty promise? Wouldn’t that measure be visible change in one’s life?

  3. MrsAnchor says:

    That’s what I’ve been doing somewhat in having that in mind along with for everything I’ve done outside of Lent is being offered up to Our Lord & Mary. The state of the Alinsky Remnants WITHIN the Church & the NY Bill among other things is what I’m doing it for at present. I don’t think I’ll be giving up the Disciplines afterward. Of course celebrate properly..but brass tacks from there on out. This turmoil could be Apocalyptic or not… I’m gonna get “My House” in order as if it were.

  4. Ms. M-S says:

    @Fallibilissimo: Keep at it, the struggle can take years or even decades. It requires humility and trust to get up and go on after every fall. The temptation to give up on confession is an insidious trap. It all takes as long as it takes.

  5. Greg Hlatky says:

    @Fallibilissimo. I understand your problem. I have had the same difficulty but over time it has gone from its worst to its least bad manifestation. Now I’m almost free of it. Keep at it, work at least at reducing its frequency. The Lord understands your struggle.

  6. Suudy says:

    I completely missed the sentence when I read this the first time. So at mass on Sunday when the Gloria began, I was taken aback. I asked our the celebrant (a very young, very reverent priest) about it, he got a sly smile and said “Yes, that is how it should be.” And then went on to say that is not the case currently.

    So, no I’m back and now I caught that missed sentence that “… others eliminated these pre-Lent Sundays ….” And yes, it does seem “… much to our detriment.”

  7. Peter Stuart says:

    Ugh, @Fallibilissimo. I’m often tortured with that worry as I struggle against temptations. For me I think most of the answer is whether I take the advice I get in Confession. If not, I figure it’s like not taking my medicine–I have to take the blame for that along with the consequences. Otherwise I need to keep taking the medicine, and giving up the Sacraments would be like me saying the medicine is no good.

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