Summary of the Law (said at every Sunday Mass)

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Lenten Plan for 2018

Well, tomorrow's Ash Wednesday. Lent is finally upon us. I'm planning to spend a few days off social media, but before I log out, I thought I'd share my Lenten plan, in case anybody'd like to join me in it.

1. Fasting and Abstinence. For Catholics of the Roman Rite, including the Ordinariate, Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent are days of obligatory abstinence from flesh meats. This basically means anything warm-blooded (fish, shellfish, amphibians, and reptiles are allowed, so if you have a serious craving for some frogs' legs or an alligator steak on a Friday in Lent, knock yourself out, I guess). Additionally, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting, which means no more than one full meal and two snacks per day. These rules only apply to those older than 14 and younger than 60, and the sick, the infirm, and pregnant or nursing mothers are also exempt.

I generally go meatless throughout Lent, and this year I'm going to take a stab at going fully vegan on Fridays. The Ordinariate also preserves the custom of Ember days: during the first full week of Lent (i.e., the week following the first Sunday), Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are observed with fasting and abstinence, thus opening the season with a more emphatic transition from ordinary life into a penitential frame of mind.

Do remember that, as my director likes to say, Lent is not a diet plan. The purpose of fasting is the discipline of the soul, not a beach body.

2. Almsgiving. This is the more correct term for what's usually referred to today as charity. Charity, that is, love, is a virtue that embodies considerably more than giving to the poor; however, giving to the poor is one of the most traditional and beneficial acts of charity (it blesseth him that gives and him that takes). Though alms are always appropriate—whether in the form of donations to charitable causes, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or just giving to panhandlers on the street—this is a specially fitting time to distribute them.

3. Lenten Discipline. This is entirely voluntary, and may or may not involve giving something up for Lent (although that exercise is so common that many people don’t realize there’s anything more to Lent than giving something up for it). Adding something, like a daily recitation of the Rosary or reading from Scripture, is just as fitting if not more so. This year, I’ve chosen to read through the Catechism. I’ve dipped into it before, chiefly as a reference work, but I’ve never actually read the thing cover to cover. Including Sundays—which are normally left out of the count, but to spread the task out a little more—it comes to a little over sixty paragraphs a day, which is ambitious but doable. Most of these paragraphs are only a sentence or two long, and many of them are summaries of earlier sections. The schedule I plan to follow, together with the topics treated in the segments being read each day, are as follows. (Dates marked with an asterisk are days when normal Lenten disciplines like abstinence are not obligatory. For Catholics of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter, February 22nd, the commemoration of the Chair, is observed as a solemnity and is also exempt from Lenten rules.)

14 Feb. §§1-64. Using the Catechism. Man’s capacity for God; God’s self-revelation; Israel.
15. §§65-119. The finality of revelation; Scripture.
16. §§120-184. The canon. Faith.
17. §§185-248. The creeds. God’s being; God’s oneness.

*18. §§249-308. The Trinity. God’s power; creation.
19. §§309-370. The problem of evil. Angels; the earth; man.
20. §§371-435. The sexes. The Fall, Original Sin; the Incarnation.
21. §§436-498. The names of Christ; the mission of Christ; the Hypostatic Union; Mary.
22. §§499-560. Mary’s virgin motherhood. The mysteries of Christ’s life; the Kingdom of Heaven.
23. §§561-623. The Law, the Temple; the Passion, the Redemption.
24. §§624-682. Christ’s burial; the Resurrection; the Ascension; the Parousia.

*25. §§683-747. The Holy Ghost.
26. §§748-810. The Church.
27. §§811-870. The Church’s unity, holiness, catholicity, apostolicity.
28. §§871-933. The ministerial and magisterial priesthoods; the laity; consecrated life.
1 Mar. §§934-996. Spiritual communion among Christians; Mary, mother of the Church. The forgiveness of sins. Final resurrection.
2. §§997-1060. Death, particular judgment; Heaven; Purgatory; Hell; the Last Judgment.
3. §§1061-1121. The liturgy; the Trinity at work in the liturgy. The sacraments.

*4. §§1122-1178. The sacramental economy. The celebration of the liturgy; the sacred calendar.
5. §§1179-1245. The church building; diversity of liturgical traditions. Baptism.
6. §§1246-1305. The administration, graces of Baptism. Confirmation.
7. §§1306-1372. The administration of Confirmation. The Eucharist, the Mass.
8. §§1373-1429. The Real Presence; Holy Communion, its effects. Reconciliation.
9. §§1430-1498. Penance; contrition, confession, satisfaction; indulgences; the administration of Reconciliation.
10. §§1499-1553. Unction. Holy Orders; baptismal, ministerial priesthoods.

*11. §§1554-1617. The three degrees of Order; the administration, effects of Order. Marriage.
12. §§1618-1679. Consecrated virginity. Marital consent; the administration, effects of Marriage. Sacramentals.
13. §§1680-1742. Christian funerals. The image of God; beatitude; human freedom.
14. §§1743-1804. Ends, intentions, circumstances in morality; the passions; conscience.
15. §§1805-1869. The cardinal virtues; the theological virtues. Sin: venial, mortal.
16. §§1870-1927. Society; authority; the common good.
17. §§1928-1995. Human dignity; equality, solidarity; the moral law, the Torah, the New Law. Justification.

*18. §§1996-2051. Grace; merit; growth in holiness. The Magisterium.
*19. §§2052-2117. The Ten Commandments. The First Commandment: adoration, idolatry, magic.
20. §§2118-2179. Irreligion; icons. The Second Commandment: blasphemy, oaths. The Third Commandment.
21. §§2180-2243. The Sunday sabbath. The Fourth Commandment: the family, civil society.
22. §§2244-2306. Church and state. The Fifth Commandment: self-defense; murder, abortion, euthanasia, suicide; scandal, respect for the body, respect for the dead; civil peace.
23. §§2307-2365. War. The Sixth Commandment: sexuality, chastity; forms of unchastity; fidelity.
24. §§2366-2425. Fertility; adultery, divorce, other offenses against Marriage. The Seventh Commandment: the universal destination of goods, personal property; social justice.

*25. §§2426-2492. Work, the rights of workers; international justice; the poor. The Eighth Commandment: honesty, witness; offenses against truth; privacy.
26. §§2493-2557. Freedom of speech, information; art. The Ninth Commandment: purity of heart. The Tenth Commandment: covetise, poverty of heart.
27. §§2558-2615. Prayer, communion with God. The Law, the Prophets, the Psalms; Christ’s model, teaching of prayer.
28. §§2616-2679. Adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, praise; the sources of prayer. Prayer in the Trinity; prayer in union with Mary.
29. §§2680-2737. The saints, fellow Christians, aids to prayer. Vocal prayer, meditation, contemplation; difficulties in prayer.
30. §§2738-2802. Perseverance in prayer. The tradition of the Lord’s Prayer.
31. §§2803-2865. The seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer; the final doxology.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great idea. I did the same thing a few years ago and created a little podcast of me reading the catechism daily (it's very low quality recordings just a heads up). If you search daily catholic catechism on itunes you should find it. Have a great lent!