I think I am right in saying ... given, for the sake of argument, the Gregorian Calendar ... that, for much of the Church, next Sunday will be Cheesefare Sunday.
Those who possess a set of Gueranger will probably have noticed all the Byzantine texts for Cheesefare which he reproduces in his Septuagesima volume. They concern Adam and the Fall. One of the the enormous strengths of Gueranger is his awareness that Catholicism does not simply mean the Latin Rite.
And I feel that few things are more edifying than these happy occasions when the instincts of Rome and Byzantium converge, as with the agreement that we prepare for Lent by meditating on the Fall.
Since Septuagesima, we Latins as we celebrate the Divine Office have been thinking about those magnificent and stately first chapters of Genesis. Byzantines, apparently, are also animated by similar instincts about how to prepare for Lent ... i.e. by recalling the Fall.
Why? I wonder if, originally, it could be as simple as this: the Fall of our race resulted from an incontinent act of Eating. It is appropriate for us to expiate this by a season of attenuated Eating.
I subscribe to the Conciliar mandate regarding the Breviary Hymns, and so I applaud the decision to restore to use the tenth century Lenten Office Hymn Iesu Quadragenariae. Medieval English usage employed this hymn at Lauds from Lent III until Passion Sunday.
But why ... on earth ... did Dom Lentini and his merry men excise the second stanza:
Quo Paradiso redderes/ Servata parcimonia,/ Quos inde gastrimargiae/ Huc illecebra depulit.
... Gastrimargiae ... lovely word ... Perhaps that's what Lentini didn't like ... but the heirs of the Carolingian Renaissance simply adored a resonant grecism ... although I would have to admit that this fashion caused a fair bit of textual corruption as scribes copied out what they did not understand or recognise.
The English Hymnal renders that stanza: That he who fell from high delight/ Borne down by sensual appetite,/ By dint of stern control may rise/ To climb the hills of Paradise.
er ... no ... I agree with you ... this is not quite the sure-footed genius of John Mason Neale, is it? The translator here is Thomas Alexander Lacey (1853-1931; Fellow of Balliol, no fool, the principal Anglican theologian who spent time and effort in Rome resisting Cardinal Vaughan's frantic campaign to get Anglican Orders condemned).
Of course, our Lenten liturgies do inevitably cram in every biblical reference they can find to 'Forty Days'. Nevertheless, I feel that Protestant worshippers, accustomed to turning up in Church on the first Sunday of Lent, and hearing the organ thumping out the Victorian hymn For-tee days and for-tee nights ... and Cranmer's collect O Lord, whiche for oure sake dyddeste faste fortye days and fourtie nights ... might have been left with the mechanistic notion that Lent is nothing more than an imitatio of the Lord's Fast.
To us Latin Catholics and to Byzantines is left the headier pleasure of entering through an imposing portal into a vivid world of stimulating Typology and rich Intertextuality.
Personally, I feel diminished by the incessant post-Conciliar attempts, renewed under this lamentable pontificate, to eliminate the links between the worship of the 'Old' and 'New' Testaments; and to ignore genuine and instinctive convergences between Rome and Byzantium. Narrow-minded, uneducated lot ... anti-semites and anti-byzantines (even ... what is worse ... without knowing it!)
The Old, Authentic, Roman Rite is thoroughly worth fighting for.
Beware of pickpockets.