SECOND PART OF THE LITURGICAL YEAR: THE EASTER CYCLE (MYSTERY OF THE REDEMPTION).
I. Prelude to the Season of Lent: Season after Septuagesima
"The Christmas Cycle celebrates the Mystery of the Incarnation. The Easter Cycle celebrates the Mystery of the Redemption and has the following subdivisions:
1. Season of Lent
3. After Whitsunday
I. - Season of Lent.
Introduced by three Sundays (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima), the season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the death of Jesus in Passion Week. The struggle between our Lord and Satan ends with the victory of the Savior at Eastertide. During the period from Septuagesima to Ash Wednesday, the liturgy speaks no more of our greatness but contemplates the misery of fallen humanity - the fatal consequences of original sin and actual sin - and the sacrifice that God asked from the faithful Melchisedech, symbol of the sacrifice that Jesus brings for the whole of humanity.
In this period we also prepare for the fasting and penance of the season of Lent. The season can be recapitulated with the words of the Preface of Lent: 'Who by this bodily fast dost curb our vices, lift our minds, and bestow strength and rewards.' Our souls are slaves of the Devil, flesh and the world. Jesus came into the world, not to be crowned king of the Jews, but to deliver us from this threefold bondage and to restore to us the divine life which we had lost.
The season of Lent ends with Passiontide (from Passion Sunday to Easter). The Judica me... and the Gloria Patri are omitted because the very ancient Masses of Passiontide date from an age before these prayers were added to the Roman Mass. The Liturgy commemorates the sorrowful events of the last week of Jesus' mortal life. On Thursday evening, He had the Last Supper with His Apostles, and on the following day He was crucified on Calvary.
'Who didst establish the salvation of mankind on a tree of the Cross, that whence death came thence also life might arise again, and that we, who were overcome by a tree, by a tree might also overcome.'
The struggle between our Lord and Satan ends with the apparent success of Satan on Good Friday. The priests are robed in vestments of mourning, and the whole Church wears an aspect of sadness. But by the sacrifice of Himself, the Son of God triumphs and gloriously comes forth from the sepulchre on Easter morning."
Sunday, 4 February, 2007
"The three Sundays preceding Ash Wednesday are called Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, which mean, respectively, the seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth day, that is, before Easter. They are mere names to correspond with the name of Lent (Quadragesima in Latin: fortieth); obviously they do not actually correspond with the period they indicate.
Man, victim of the sin of Adam and of his own sins, is justly afflicted, groans and sorrows encompass him.
On these Sundays the Gloria in excelsis and Alleluia are omitted, except when the Mass of a feast is said, and the purple vestments are used in preparation for Lent."
Epistle: I Cor 9:24-27; 10:1-5.
Gospel: Matt 20:1-16.
Monday, 5 February, 2007
St. Agatha, Virgin, Martyr
“Born in Sicily of noble parents, St. Agatha suffered dreadful torture at the hands of her persecutors, but she was healed on the following night by a vision of St. Peter. Other sufferings were inflicted upon her, and from these she died A.D. 254.”
Epistle: I Cor 1:26-31.
Gospel: Matt 19:3-12.
Tuesday, 6 February 2007
St. Titus, Confessor, Bishop
"St. Titus, Bishop of Crete, was one of the most faithful disciples of St. Paul The Apostle wrote to Titus a letter included in Holy Scripture. He died A.D. 101."
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 44:16-27; 45:3-20.
Gospel: Luke 10:1-9.
Commemoration of St. Dorothy, Virgin, Martyr
"St. Dorothy of Caesarea in Cappadocia was beheaded at the end of the third century. She died A.D. 275."
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 51:13-17.
Gospel: Luke 10:1-9.
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
St. Romuald, Abbot
"St. Romuald founded the Order of the Camaldoli, one of the branches of the Benedictine Order, in which the eremitical life is united with the cenobitical. He died at the age of 120, A.D. 1027.”
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6.
Gospel: Matt 19:27-29.
Thursday, 8 February 2007
St. John of Matha, Confessor
"With St. Felix of Valois, St. John founded the Order of the Trinitarians for the ransoming of captives who had fallen into the hands of the Mohammedans. He died in A.D. 1213."
Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 31:8-11.
Gospel: Luke 12:35-40.
Friday, 9 February 2007
St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church
"St. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, fought with his pen and his eloquence against the Nestorians. He presided in the name of Pope Celestine at the great Council of Ephesus, where the heresy of Nestorius was condemned, and he successfully defended the truth concerning the Mother of God and our Saviour in His twofold nature of God and Man. He died A.D. 444."
Lesson: 2 Tim 4:1-8.
Gospel: Matt 5:13-19.
Saturday, 10 February 2007
St. Scholastica, Virgin
“St. Scholastica was the sister of St. Benedict. Embracing the rule of her brother, she founded the Order of Benedictine nuns. She died A.D. 543.”
Epistle: 2 Cor: 10:17-18; 11:1-2.
Gospel: Matt 25:1-13.
 Remarks are abstracted from The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual, from Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962
(Baronius Press Limited, London, 2004, in conjunction with the Fraternal Society of St. Peter, www.baroniuspress.com)