Quinquagesima SundayStation at St Peter
This solemn assembly at the confessio of the Vatican brings to a close the Triduum in preparation for the great solemnity of the coming fast. Having assured ourselves of the patronage of St Lawrence, St Paul, and St Peter, we shall be ready with full confidence to commence next Sunday at the Lateran Basilica the holy cycle of penance. In imitation of the Greeks, all religious communities and the more devout amongst the laity began, in early times, to abstain from meat from this week onwards. The Church has adopted this use to a certain extent by beginning Lent on the following Feria IV (Ash Wednesday).
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The mystery of the cross is so difficult for the mind of man to understand that even the Apostles, who had studied for three years in the school of Christ, had not yet penetrated it. They did not understand it now as they journeyed to Jerusalem, nor yet on the evening of the paschal feast, at which they were consecrated the Pontiffs of the New Testament. One short hour later, omnes, relicto eo, fugerunt, leaving Jesus to go up to Calvary alone. How necessary, then, is it for us to meditate upon Christ crucified, lest we should fail in a matter of the highest moment, towards which the whole of our spiritual life should be directed -- that is, the mystery of expiation through suffering.
From The Sacramentary (Liber Sacramentorum) of the Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster.
Vol II, pgs 36, 38.