Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.And, the call to pursue a Holy, and purposeful Lent...
"Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer."Its a cold March morning. So cold that the temperatures would be more suited to waking up in Northern Germany after the previous night's Faching revelry. But in 45 days, this bleak cold winter of 2014 will have given way to the green of Spring (God willing...)
So many Lent's have started with lofty spiritual goals, only to be dashed by the disappointment of our own failings. I fear that I would have turned stones into bread or far worse out there in the Judean desert. Fortunately, my fear of heights would have prevented the header off the pinnacle. But that too would demonstrate self-preservation over obedience to the Word. Perhaps another facet of Lent is to remind us us how dependent we are on the almighty. Like St. Peter, with Divine empowerment we can walk on water or sink like an anchor when we turn inward and away from the Light.
Yet we embark on another Lenten journey. My prayers for Lent this year are a bit humbler than previous year's. I'm praying for a purposeful Lent; one with small but significant gains. I'm praying for the power to sluff off certain niggling little sins that cling and cause drag and friction.
May your Lenten journey be joyous!