The Dawn of Lent
The day is come, the accepted day
When grace like nature flowers anew;
Trained by thy hand the surer way
Rejoice we in our springtime too.
Push away the Lenten gloom
that says this is the season
for trudging through the mud of life,
to reach the far off Promised Land.
Take a bowl of truth
and place within the palm cross
that has been held up over your daily life,
and slowly crush your sins.
Stir in the pure olive of God’s grace.
Let the cross of ash be for your healing,
as well as an outward sign
of your repentance,
and a pointer for your journey.
Let the Spring-signs that burst
through the cold crusty earth
help you to burst open your secrets
to a compassionate, forgiving Lord
and push through the dark earth
to the warming light of his transforming love.
Spring flowers will not wait until Easter
to speak of new life.
Lent is not a season for long-faced plodding,
or bemoaning how your petty fast feels;
but a time to leap…..take risks,
look outside your narrow vision,
to see Christ bid you onwards
both to the Hill and to the Tomb beyond
to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel-
to experience death and resurrection Now!
by C. S. Inspired by the sixth century Office Hymn
LENT is a very important time of preparation for a little more self discipline to ensure that we are not the servant of our own drives. So many people cut out some unnecessary treats. It is also the time to take on something rather than to just give up.
Here are a few suggestions
1. Aim to come to the Sunday Eucharist every week, and when that is impossible then come to one of the three weekday Eucharists.
2. Try to have a time of prayer at the start and close of the day.
3. however short-dedicate and thank God for the gift of a day
4. Take a book from Mary’s Library – even if you can only set aside a short time to read.
5. Ask what little job around the Church needs doing
OUR JOURNEY TO THE CROSS: LENT - EASTER
Let the wasteland rejoice and bloom’
We begin our Lenten journey on ASH WEDNESDAY by having our heads marked with ashes made from the burned palm crosses blessed the year before.
Ashes are a sign of our penance, the sorrow for our sins and a commitment to believe the gospel, praying that the same Spirit who led Jesus into the desert will lead us through Lent. Marked with a cross of ashes may we come to the tree of glory.
We prune our lives of all that is unnecessary: embracing fasting, that through the fruits of our sacrifice we will bring comfort and aid to others.
May the prophecy of Isaiah be true for us: “Let the desert and the dry lands be glad, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom, let it burst into flower, let it rejoice and sing for joy’ (Isaiah 35:1-2)
As we begin our Lenten journey we turn to the Lord in a corporate act of penitence, acknowledging our need for his forgiveness and love, his grace and strength.
As we set our faces toward the paschal celebration of Christ’s saving death and resurrection, we pray that we may use the season of Lent as a favourable time of preparation, a time of sacrifice and fasting, a time of reconciliation and service of our neighbour, so that reconciled with God and one another, we may embrace the gospel of Christ and rejoice in his Passover Feast.
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel
It is a custom, known from as early as the tenth century, that ashes are used as a sign or mark of our repentance: a physical, symbolic gesture of sorrow for our sins and our need for God’s loving forgiveness. The ashes used today come from the branches blessed the preceding year for Palm Sunday.
In the Bible, when people turn away from sin there is that mention of ‘sackcloth and ashes. ’ Ashes are a sign of penitence and purification. It may seem a rather absurd thing to do—to place ashes on our head. Most people would prefer to apply some kind of substance that beautifies or makes us look younger! The ashes remind us both of the ugliness of sin, and is a commitment to the gospel of Christ.