WDTPRS – 1st Sunday of Lent (TLM): our season of transforming mystery

With this 1st Sunday of Lent we are fully into our forty day season of purification and preparation.

Speaking of forty, the Latin for Lent is Quadragesima, “fortieth”.  St Leo the Great (d 461) used the phrase quadragesimale ieiunium, “the Forty Fast”, for Lent.  English “Lent” comes from Old English lencten for “spring”.

I have more pertinent things to say about Lent in another post wherein I look at the Collect for the Novus Ordo on this Sunday.  HERE

Let’s see the Collect for Holy Mass in the traditional Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in the 1962 Missale Romanum.  This prayer was in the 8th century Liber Sacramentorum Engolismensis, the version of the Gregorian Sacramentum at Angoulême.  Charlemagne (d 814) wanted to spread the use of the Roman Rite throughout his realm.  He asked Pope Adrian I (d 795) for the Roman liturgical books.  What Adrian sent was attributed to Gregory I (“the Great” d 604).  These books were recopied many times with local variations. The Gallic changes and additions eventually returned to Rome, were interpolated into the Roman Rite and, therefore, are in the Roman Missals we use today.

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam annua quadragesimali observatione purificas: praesta familiae tuae; ut, quod a te obtinere abstinendo nititur, hoc bonis operibus exsequatur.


O God, who purify Your Church by means of the annual forty-day Lenten observance: grant to Your family; that, what it strives to obtain from You by abstaining, may be achieved by good works.

All three major prayers for this Sunday contain the theme of purification (purificas, purgatos) and denial (abstinendo, restrictione).  The discipline of self-denial and works of mercy help us to overcome temptations and to dispose ourselves to receive the graces God offers.

In his Message for Lent 2008, Pope Benedict offered that almsgiving,

“…represents a specific way to assist those in need and, at the same time, an exercise in self-denial to free us from attachment to worldly goods. The force of attraction to material riches, and just how categorical our decision must be not to make of them an idol, Jesus confirms in a resolute way: ‘You cannot serve God and mammon’ (Lk 16,13). Almsgiving helps us to overcome this constant temptation, teaching us to respond to our neighbor’s needs and to share with others whatever we possess through divine goodness. This is the aim of the special collections in favor of the poor, which are promoted during Lent in many parts of the world. In this way, inward cleansing is accompanied by a gesture of ecclesial communion…”.


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  1. Patrick-K says:

    Father, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the fact that the verse quoted by Satan (Ps. 90:11 and 90:4,5, which is similar) is repeated several times (gradual, tract, offertory, communion). Is it a sort of mockery of Satan?

  2. Mockery of Satan? No, I don’t think that is what is the motive in the Church’s sacred liturgical worship, which raises us above the machination of the Prince of this world. Secondary effect? Maybe. But I don’t think this the point of repetition. See what I wrote about this Sunday elsewhere. I’ve linked on this blog.

  3. Patrick-K says:

    It’s not so much the repetition as the “quotation” of Satan. It seems, to me, somewhat odd to repeat several times the same verse that Satan used to tempt Our Lord. (I obtusely was not able to find the link.)

  4. Imrahil says:

    Dear Patrick-K,

    this, or something like it, seems to be the opinion of Fr Ramm FSSP, who composed the hand missal I am using and wrote there:

    Today, all liturgical chant has been taken from one single psalm, and not without reason this is Psalm 90; for in that manner the Devil, as it were, is being punished who tried as ‘theologian’ and recited this psalm in the desert towards our Lord (see Gosp.).
    This psalm is full of trust in God. It is meant to encourage us to devote ourselves entirely to the Lord so as not to receive His grace in vain (see Ep.)
    , etc. etc. (Translation mine.)

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