9 Feb 2016

Ash Wednesday - Awake my soul, awake harp and lyre, I will awake the dawn

Awake my soul, awake lyre and harp, I will awake the dawn!

The words of the psalmist call us to celebrate the joyful season of Lent. It is generally viewed penitential season which is true, but it is also a season of hope as we reflect on the great mercy of God. It seems appropriate that here in the northern hemisphere, Lent always falls during Spring with the promise of new life which echoes the liturgical season as we prepare for the Passion, Death but ultimately the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like the way the season of Winter death gives way to the new life of Spring, we are called to die to our old selves and embrace the newness of life in Gods mercy. 
So to help you along your Lenten journey we have a couple of short videos below and if you look to the side bar on the left hand side we have listed a number of sites with online resources for the Lenten season.

But the basics of Lent - making time for prayer and dialogue with God, fasting from food or behaviours in our daily lives to create space for God and to remind us of those who do without and alms giving - response to the needs of others to whom we owe assistance in justice and mercy to the best of our abilities. None of these require internet or social media, just an open heart and willingness to do all for God.

Lenten Lessons: Preparing to Meet Christ - cross linked from Pray Tell - As the Christian West prepares to begin Lent on Ash Wednesday, the writer publishes a brief personal account on the meaning of Lent. Lent begins on Monday, March 14 for the Eastern Orthodox Church. Ash Wednesday does not belong to their liturgical tradition; they begin with Vespers and the rite of Forgiveness).
The Virtue of Asceticism - Giving up chocolate? Deleting your Facebook account? We all choose to mark Lent in different ways and more often than not focus on abstaining from something we enjoy, but is this always good for us? Nicholas Austin SJ explores how our attempts at an ascetic way of life for forty days each year can go wrong if our motivations are not rooted in the wisdom of the Christian tradition. How can we rediscover the virtue of asceticism?Poetry for Lent & Easter
Lent FAQ - From Mardi Gras to Holy Week, everything you need to know about the season of Lent.
Seven Common Misconceptions About Lent
iBenedictine - Preparing for Lent 2016: the Poverty Bill
iBenedictine - Preparing for Lent
iBenedictine- A Few Resources for Lent


Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for Lent 2016

Marked by Ashes

Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home
     halfway back to committees and memos,
     halfway back to calls and appointments,
     halfway on to next Sunday,
     halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
     half turned toward you, half rather not.

This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,
   but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
     we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
       of failed hope and broken promises,
       of forgotten children and frightened women,
     we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
     we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.

We are able to ponder our ashness with
   some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes
   anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.

On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
   you Easter parade of newness.
   Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
     Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
     Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
   Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
     mercy and justice and peace and generosity.
We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.

- Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933)

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