"I have trodden the winepress alone: and of the people there was none with me..." ~ Isaiah 63:3
As we make our way through Septuagesima in preparation for Lent, we have the opportunity to turn our eyes to those who have trod this way before us to discover the meaning of these season. The great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine tells us that, "There are two times, one which is now, and is spent in the temptations and tribulations of this life; the other which shall be then, and shall be spent in eternal security and joy. In figure of these, we celebrated two periods: the time before Easter, and the time after Easter. That which is before Easter signifies the sorrow of this present life; that which is after Easter, the blessedness of our future state.... Hence it is that we spend the first in fasting and prayer; and in the second we give up our fasting, and give ourselves to praise." The graces of this present season found in prayer and fasting prepare us for the joy of the season and the life to come.