Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of refuge, to save me: for thou art my strength and my refuge: and for thy name’s sake thou wilt be my leader, and wilt nourish me. In thee , O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in thy justice, and set me free.
Introit for the Mass, Quinquagesima Sunday
The pre-lenten preparations continue today with the drawing of our attention to the penitential nature of Lent. As Abbot Granger called today, it is the day on which we recall the vocation of Abraham: “preserved those sacred truths” revealed to us by the Divine Majesty. The Church reminds us that Abraham is the model of what complete trust and belief in God ought to look like: from adoring idols to belief in a personal, loving and just God. We know that God chooses us, just as he chose Abraham.
Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham (c. 955 – c. 1010) gives us an insight into this liturgical season when he encourages his monks, saying: “Now a pure and holy time draws near, in which we should atone for our neglect. Every Christian, therefore, should come to his confession and confess his hidden sins, and amend according to the guidance of his teacher.”
So, the key here is to resolve with God’s grace to make time to pray , go to confess sins, fast, and give alms.
As a point of comparison, the Eastern Churches mark this Sunday by abstaining from dairy; this minor penitential day is called Cheesefare Sunday (a “good bye” to dairy products until Easter).