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Tag Archives: Lent

Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent

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Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration, 178-179:

SACRAMENTS OF MERCY

The chesed of God is a gratuitous mercy that considers no fitness, no worthiness and no return.  It is the way the Lord looks upon the guilty and with His look makes them at once innocent.  This look seems to some to be anger because they fly from it.  But if they face it, they see that it is love and that they are innocent.  (Their flight and their confusion of their own fear make them guilty in their own eyes.)  The chesed of God is truth.  It is infallible strength.  It is the love by which he seeks and chooses his chosen, and binds them to Himself.  It is the love by which He is married to mankind, so that, if humanity is faithless to Him, it must still always have fidelity to which to return: that is His own fidelity.  He has become inseparable from man in the chesed which we call “incarnation,” and “Cross” and “Resurrection.”  He has also given us His chesed in the Person of His spirit.  The Paraclete is the full, inexpressible mystery of chesed. So that in the depths of our own being there is an inexhaustible spring of mercy and love.  Our own being has become love.  Our own self has become God’s love for us, and it is full Christ, of chesed. But we must be to ourselves and to others signs and sacraments of mercy.

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Friday in the Third Week of Lent – a prayer

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PRAYER

I offer you, Lord, my time, this gift of the fullness of life in time that I now experience in being united to you.  Help me to redeem time for others.  Help me to unburden their load of stress.  By your grace let me be an instrument of your call to freedom and creativity in the lives of all whom you redeem.  Let them hear your call to the only liberty that matters: to choose to follow you. ~ Thomas Merton

Contemplation

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DAY 22

Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent

UNION WITH CHRIST, UNION WITH THE CHURCH

The liturgy is, as the Fathers taught, a work of the active life.  It prepares us for contemplation, which is the final perfection of Christian personalism, since it is the intimate realization of one’s perfect union with Christ “in one Spirit.”  The highest paradox of Christian personalism is for an individual to be “found in Christ Jesus” and thus “lost” to all that can be regarded, in a mundane way, as his “self.”  This means to be at the same time one’s self and Christ.  But this is not to be ascribed solely to personal initiative, “private prayer” or individual effort.  Contemplation is a gift of God, given in and through His Church, and through the prayer of the Church.  St. Anthony was led into the desert not by a private voice but by the word of God, proclaimed in the Church of his Egyptian village in the chanting of the Gospel in Coptic–a classical example of liturgy opening the way to a life of contemplation!  But the liturgy cannot fulfill this function if we misunderstand or underestimate the essentially spiritual value of Christian public prayer.  If we cling to immature and limited notions of  “privacy,” we will never be able to free ourselves from the bonds of individualism.  We will never realize how the Church delivers us from ourselves by public worship, the very public character of which tends to hide us “in the secret of God’s face.”

THOMAS MERTON, SEASONS OF CELEBRATION, 26-27

The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.  But give rather the spirit of  chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen

St. Ephrem (also spelt Ephraem) the Syrian was a deacon who wrote his reflections almost exclusively in poetry, in the Syriac Aramaic language which was a dialect of the same language spoken by Our Lord and the apostles.

the Liturgical Seasons

Although we (speaking for myself of course) always seem to be asking for direction (insight/guidance), I think that the Season of Lent is when we especially ask for guidance – for direction (even if we think we know the way).

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” —Psalm 32:8

which direction??

Lent

Lent is a time for reflection and meditation, however it is also a time for anticipation – and sometimes I suppose the joyful music and celebration may begin a little early – in anticipation of the Risen Christ.

Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.

– Albert Einstein

LENT

Justifying faith implies, not only a divine evidence or conviction that ”God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself’,  but a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that He loved me and gave Himself for me.”
John Wesley

Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent

The name Ash Wednesday originates from the practice of believers putting ashes on their forehead in a cross symbol to show their faith. The ashes symbolize the dust from which people were created, and to which one day they will return.

Lent is a 40 day (not including Sundays) time period where people of the Christian faith repent for their sins – generally by restricting their lifestyles. This could mean giving up smoking, giving up drinking, giving up eating candy, not gossiping – it is a personal choice as to what one decides to forego or restrict.

It is a movable feast, which means the dates can change, but it is always on a Wednesday.

In the past, dusting yourself in ashes was a way of showing repentance for sins and to ask for forgiveness – and that is the symbolism today.

Father in Heaven,
the light of your truth bestows sight
to the darkness of sinful eyes.
May this season of repentance
bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness
and the gift of Your light.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.