(Originally posted, in part, three years ago. Some additions.)
Finally, some more Vintage Catholic for you – a 7th grade textbook published in 1935 by MacMillan, part of The Christ Life Series in Religion. Authors are the famed liturgist Dom Virgil Michel OSB, another Benedictine, and Dominican sisters.
Note the tone. It treats the young reader, not as consumer or client to be served or pandered to, but as a part of the Church with a vital role to play and a spiritual life capable of “courageous penance.” I really love the paragraphs on p. 146 that set the global scene for the season.
If you click on the images, full-screen, readable versions should come up.
On the eve of Septuagesima, with Vespers, the solemn evening prayer of the Church, all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, bidding farewell to the Alleluia, suggestive of the joys of the Christmas Period, turn their steps toward the mountainous paths which lead to Easter. Thousands and thousands of people upon the stage of life are adjusting themselves to their roles in this drama—this drama which is real life. Old men are there and old women, youths and maidens, and even little children. From all parts of the world they come and from all walks of life—kings and queens, merchants and laborers, teachers and students, bankers and beggars, religious of all orders, cardinals, bishops, and parish priests, and leading them all the Vicar of Christ on earth. All are quietly taking their places, for all are actors in the sublime mystery drama of our redemption. We, too, have our own parts to play in this living drama. And there is no rehearsal. We begin now, on Septuagesima, following as faithfully as we can the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which comes to us particularly in the Mass and the sacraments.
What is also missing is that contemporary pervasive, nervous, anxiety-ridden definition of Lent as essentially about helping you feel a certain way about life and yourself, and if you follow these steps, it’s going to be a super dynamic time for you and give you a fabulous sense of purpose. None of that. Just a sense of respect for each person’s capacity to respond to God, and trust that God is drawing each one to him.