Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sexagesima ~ Transitioning To Lent

Violet: Transitioning to Lent ~ Easter

So last Sunday (Septuagesima on the old calendar) I proposed a Lenten fast from complaining, blaming and grumbling. Today is called Sexagesima Sunday which is roughly sixty days to Easter. Collectively these three old-fashioned Sundays, with the strange Latin names, is get-ready-time. Head's up - Lent is coming!

The Catholic way still attends to some kind of Lenten dietary observance - at least the abstinence from meat on the Lenten Fridays, and the Ash Wednesday and Good Friday fasts. But my proposal might stand a better chance of impacting us for the long term. The check-list below might sound absurd, but really, (if we're paying attention), it's us who are absurd with all our complaining, blaming and grumbling. Like living in a room of bad air.

We complain about:
the traffic
the parking lot
the neighbors
the relatives

We grumble about:
the prices
the taxes
the weather
the food

We blame:
the waitress
the government
the electric company
the boss

We complain about:
the long lines
the technology
the temperature
the colleagues

We grumble about:
the mail delivery
the satellite reception
everything being made in China
the news anchor

We blame:
the president
the politicians*
maybe even the pope
the newcomers

We complain about:
the young people
our spouses
the addicts
the gays

We grumble about:
the railroad
the crowds
the teacher
the high school rival

We blame
the Muslims
the Jews
the Mexicans
the French

We complain about
the homeless
the new world order
the left - the right
the waiting room

We grumble about
the too long red light
the aches and pains
the person behind the counter
the ethnicity of law breakers

We blame
the police
the ineffective cold remedy
the people who should know better
and God himself

OK - we get it, we get it! Oh, one more: the priest, his sermons and his bishop!

It's pathetic really: so much air used up, so much energy and time. The suffering of our inner discontent! So for Lent - let's just cut it out. Read a happy book. Start some tomato seeds in the house. Get a garden ready. Turn off all the bad news/sad news. Practice silence - not moody silence though. Make our own book of counted blessings. Read the Gospels and  high-lite in bright yellow every verse that's happy news. Consciously inhale and exhale compassion and kindness on everyone you meet or even think about. Pope Francis' Mercy Jubilee will make sense then, because when all the pulpit words go silent, bottom line is: Mercy means kindness.

*Maybe we can allow some criticism of politicians - after all, Jesus called Herod a fox. Luke 13:32


  1. This list is not absurd at all. I can think of at least a dozen items to ad to it. We complain about everything and it is a good idea to be concious of it. If we can even cut back it would be a start.

    1. A good beginning makes a good ending. And so we begin. God bless your Lenten effort! What consciousness this entails! If we'd only listen to ourselves.

  2. I feel the transition beginning in me already. With your direction I hope to feel more ready for Easter. Looking forward to welcoming the Risen Christ with a cleaner heart.

  3. "A clean heart create in me, O God, put a right spirit within me."

  4. Thank you for caring. Amen.

  5. You're most welcome. What a wonderful opportunity this blog is for me as a priest.

  6. We pass blame around like playing cards at a poker tournament. We complain and moan about every little thing. What can we do to stop this? Besides making this effort in consciousness, try also to do something nice for someone else. A smile is contagious. A little favor, a kind word, and offer of help, or even an ear to lend will lessen your troubles and help you to see life with a little more clarity. Let us pay attention here. Father Stephen is showing us the steps to Jesus.

    1. Oh my goodness, we are very simpatico - wait until you see the post that's ready to put up tomorrow. Stay tuned!

    2. I am not sure if that is a good term, but I do know that we need to be conscious or aware of our actions and reactions to people and things that happen around us. I am always tuned in so I will be looking at tomorrow's post most definitely.

    3. Simpatico? That just means that we are tuned in to the same things. Conscious and aware of similar concerns. In an unconscious, even comatose world -awareness, "tuned in" as you say, is very good.

  7. Ok the last one was some comic relief! It was all pretty funny and so true! I will have to read it a number of times. I already forgot about the complaining from last week let alone the grumbling and blaming! You are like the brother trying to help everyone along.

  8. Well that's a neat thought. Maybe that's who the priest should be - the older brother who goes into the scary room ahead of the younger siblings

  9. Everything is here for a serious examination of conscience. It does help to make me more aware of me. It is the little things that can bring you down but I like the suggestions to bring me up to a better place. So much goes on here everyday. Never dull. The Spirit drives you hard!

    1. Tomorrow's post - an easy method, available to all, to "bring us up to the better place."

    2. Does your post get applied automatically at a certain time?

  10. And tomorrow (Sunday) on the old calendar is called Quinquagesima - roughly 50 days until Easter. One last installment towards the No Grumbling, No Complaining, No Blaming Fast!

  11. I found this several weeks ago on the New Evangelists website and have been following your posts for Lent. I am very pleased to have come across your Lenten-Mercy Meditations. I very much agree that religion has some humble work to do. Each step that you take towards Easter, is a step I take with you.