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The Sunday Called Septugesima

the third Sunday before Lent
Augustine on Psalm CIV

O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we which are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Gregory of Rome [600 AD]. The collect shows the great stress that Gregory knew from all sorts of calamities and threats - often perceived directly as a result of the sin of the nation. Septuagesima is the pre-Lent Sunday approximately 70 days before Easter. See more here on this day

Gen 1   Psalms 8, 148 | 104;   1 Corinthians ix. 24   &   St. Matthew xx. 1

Bless the LORD, O my soul ... who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
This year many folk are observing the Bicentennial Birthday of Charles Darwin, who put forth a theory on the Origin of Species which has changed the way most scientists look at nature and challenges the literal creation story of Genesis. Darwin attended seminary, and for a while was preparing for Orders in the Church of England which has a informative page on Darwin and his faith here.
The Psalm appointed for this day is 104, which uses the creation story of Genesis 1 to frame a prayer of praise for God's wonderful creation. Whether you buy  into some of what modern science proposes concerning the "how" of the formation of the universe and the appearance of life or not, as a Christian you must confess that God did create by his will all that is. His technical means are a mystery to us and shall be always, but his sovereign method is described in our OT reading... he spoke.
Augustine looks at Psalm 104 from a Christian perspective. He wrote of the verse quoted for today :
He hath founded the earth upon its firmness" (ver. 5). He
hath founded the Church upon the firmness of the Church.
What is the firmness of the Church, but the foundation of
the Church. What is the foundation of the Church, but that
of which the Apostle saith, "Other foundation can no man
lay but that is laid, which is Christ Jesus."  And
therefore, grounded on such a foundation, what hath she
deserved to hear? "It shall not be bowed forever and ever."
"He founded the earth on its firmness." That is, He hath
founded the Church upon Christ the foundation. The Church
will totter if the foundation totter; but when shall Christ
totter, before whose coming unto us, and taking flesh on
Him, "all things were made by Him, and without Him was not
anything made;"  who holdeth all things by His
Majesty,  and us by His goodness? Since Christ
faileth not, "she shall not be bowed for ever and ever."
Where are they who say that the Church hath perished
from the world, when she cannot even be bowed....
As we read this psalm, let us meditate on what Augustine reminds us of as Christians, that Jesus was with his Father from everlasting, and all things were made by our Lord, and without him was not anything made --  and that creation was made with the perfect knowledge of his chosen church on earth in our times, the Church Militant, and in the end times all his saints together in the Church Triumphant -- science notwithstanding!

Released by Primus Pilus
HQ, Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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