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Ordinary Time 2017

09 November 2015
St. Martin - the Lent of

On Wednesday, November 11, comes this year's Feast of St. Martin of Tours and the Advent of Advent. There is an old tradition of "the Lent of St. Martin" (see a description here) being a sort of intentional pre-Advent season. A waiting before the waiting.

I'm interested in this.

If you look, you can find little vestiges of this pre-Advent show up in places.

Like this collect from last Sunday, Proper 27.

O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

There's some Advent language in there.

Our English brothers and sisters observe a "Sunday Next before Advent" in their prayer books. It's the same day that we Americans Anglicans call "The Last Sunday after Pentecost"

Last Sunday after Pentecost Tangent: Please note that the title "Christ the King" or any such thing appears nowhere in any Anglican prayer book, but that's another topic for another time.

The American Book of Common Prayer from 1928 comes closest to reclaiming the pre-Advent tradition. But it's found in a revision to that book's Lectionary in 1945 [PDF].

In this lectionary, the three Sundays prior to Advent Sunday are

Note also that Proper 27 (above) corresponds with the Third Sunday before Advent.

Also notable in this 1945 lectionary: the Sundays of Advent proper are Sundays "in" Advent, not Sundays "of" Advent as we find in the current 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The difference is subtle, but the older nomenclature suggests a more penitential nature of the season of Advent. The 1979 retains this "Sundays in" terminology only for the season of Lent.

So, here on the blog, let's explore, over the next three weeks, what the Evening Prayer lessons would be like in this pre-Advent season, shall we?

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Comments:
David,

Thanks for this post. As it turns out, there is ample precedent and evidence (and ongoing advocacy) for an Advent season of more than four weeks: the Ambrosian Rite has a six-week Advent essentially corresponding to St Martin’s Lent, and the Roman Rite starts looking to the East right from Matins of All Saints’ Day (cf. the C of E’s Common Worship’s note that ‘the period between All Saints’ Day and the First Sunday of Advent is observed as a time to celebrate and reflect upon the reign of Christ in earth and heaven’). We also get previews of the eschaton as far back as Holy Cross Day and even the Transfiguration via their connection to Sukkoth (the BCP1979 Office Lectionary has done an excellent job here), and even Thanksgiving Day fits into the scheme – as well as, on the other end, Candlemas. It’s fascinating stuff, which I have explored in a series of posts on my weblog: http://in-liturgy-and-song.blogspot.com/search/label/Advent.

Cheers,
Eric Mellenbruch
Austin, Texas
 

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