Religion

27th Day of Lent

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It’s the last day of March, and perhaps the darkest days are over. Entering into April always feels like we are turning a corner toward a better time. I won’t lie, March is a rough month, at least in the Midwestern US. It’s volatile month, it can warm up and feel like spring for a few days, then turn around and snow, killing everything in sight. Where I live the wind blows fiercely for days on end, rain or shine, and the wind is always bitter. Even if the air itself is warm, the wind chills to the bone making it feel colder than it was in January and February. It also rains, for weeks on end. It stays cloudy almost the whole month so that when you see the blue sky on one of the rare days when it’s not overcast you almost forgot what it looked like. March can be a miserable time.

But, it is also the harbinger of what is to come. March brings the promise of spring, the promise of new life and of new beginning. March brings with it a special kind of determination to get through the hard times so that we are ready to greet the sun when it finally arrives. March is a promise of a better day.

This year, Lent began on the first of March. It seems fitting since Lent is very much like March. Lent can be a bitter time, it can be overcast with the spiritual hardships that remind us how sinful we are. Lent can be a difficult time to travel through because it feels like it turns cold on us just when we think things are going well.

Also like March, Lent is a promise of a time to come. A time when the Son will shine brightly in our lives and we will receive the promised warmth. Lent can be a struggle, but honestly, it probably should be. When we struggle through the difficult times and are reminded how much we take for granted spiritually, then perhaps it makes Easter just a bit more meaningful. Perhaps it gives us some perspective into ourselves and into our faith, and forces us to face what we’ve been avoiding. March is something we can’t escape, but it makes us stronger too. Lent is very much the same.

Religion

26th Day of Lent | Thursday Thought

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Aggressor and Victim

Violence is such a strange thing. When we sin we perform an act of spiritual violence, except, this time, we are not only the aggressor, we are the victim. The act of spiritual violence is enacted against us by our own selves. The only way we can break the cycle of violence against ourselves is to leave our violent side behind and nurture our peaceful selves. An act of violence is a choice, not a destiny, and we can choose not to be violent, we can choose a path of peace. Lord Jesus help us.

Religion

25th Day of Lent | Morning Prayer

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Canticle of the Sun by Saint Francis of Assisi

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.

Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
Mother Earth
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.

Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.

No second death can do them harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.

 

Religion

23rd Day of Lent | Evening Prayer

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When I was in college the pastor taught me to say the Jesus Prayer. It is one of the most ancient prayers in the Christian tradition and it goes like this:

O Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
Have mercy on me,
A sinner.

This prayer is a breath prayer, and the pastor explained how to say it like this:

“O Lord Jesus Christ,”

You start by drawing in a breath. As you do so you also draw in the words. You bring Jesus into your body along with the air you breathe.

“Son of God,”

You exhale your breath. You are proclaiming who Jesus is and the nature of his being. You publicly exclaim the glory of the person of Jesus.

“Have mercy on me,”

You draw in a second breath. You ask for mercy and you take it in. You fill yourself with the life-giving mercy of God.

“A sinner.”

You release the breath. You make a public declaration of who you are. You can hold no illusions about your own righteousness when you denounce yourself as a sinner in need of Jesus. However, this breath holds a secret. When you announce your true nature to the world you are also released from your sin. You exhale your sinfulness just like you exhale your spent breath. And like an old breath your sin is gone from you and forgotten. It has power over you no longer.

“O Lord Jesus Christ,” (Draw in Jesus)

“Son of God,” (Breath out God)

“Have mercy on me,” (Draw in mercy)

“A sinner.” (Expel sin)

This prayer is sweet and melodious. Using the breaths while you pray has a way of creating a deep and restful peace where you can focus on God and be transformed. It is one of my favorite prayers and one that is comforting to fall asleep to.

Amen.

Religion

22nd Day of Lent | A Meditation

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Endeavour is one of my favourite shows, it is well written, cerebral and beautiful. It is also somewhat philosophical. There is a scene in the first season when the character of Morse asks aloud how someone can move on after something they love (in his case, music) has been tainted by evil. His mentor gives the following answer:

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I think this answer is powerful. The season of Lent is a time to wrestle with the darkness, to decide what kind of power it has, and how much power you allow it in your own life. There is evil in this world and it must be resisted, but that is easier said than done. Here, Thursday gives Morse more than just some bland philosophy, he gives him a glimmer of hope. The strain of hope in those words are an anthem of defiance, an anthem of faith in the face of despair, an anthem that calls to the coming light.

Image credit goes to Stars Into Constellations on tumblr.