Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam

To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Posts Tagged ‘ash wednesday’

The Church Militant

Posted by james0235 on February 22, 2012

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Collect, Ash Wednesday

We kick of Lent with this, the opening prayer, or Collect, for Ash Wednesday. And what an opening it is. The Church is reminding us that we are at war and “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12 NAB) and our weapon in this fight is the self-restraint that is learned by disciplining the body through fasting.

The very idea of waging a “campaign of Christian service” is very evocative of Matthew 16 where Jesus tells us that the gates of hell will not be able to stand against the Church. This doesn’t just mean that the Church will not be overcome by the powers of hell. Rather, Jesus puts hell itself on the defensive. The Church brings the battle to the forces of evil and she will be victorious.

I couldn’t help but notice the different tone this prayer has compared to previous years considering the new, corrected Mass translations. The previous “translation”, rather than having us wage a “campaign of Christian service” had us asking God to “protect us in our struggle against evil”.  It really feels different to be marching to victory rather than cowering in fear.

 

 

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Lenten Practices

Posted by james0235 on February 17, 2010

In past few years I have steadily increased my Lenten practices. At my peak last year and the year before I was praying at least one office from the Liturgy of the Hours daily, doing other spiritual reading, attending Mass on at least 2 weekdays, attending Stations of the Cross weekly, and I did a 24 hour fast at least once a week – but more often than not is was every Wednesday and Friday of Lent.

This year I am not nearly as prepared. I am not exactly sure of the reasons but I am just not up for all of that. But, I will be trying to pray the Liturgy of the Hours a bit more often than I have been lately – everything has to start with prayer. And then I will have to see where to go from there.

I was once very, very briefly part of a group that met once a week to pray Vespers together. There were 3 of us and we would meet and pray in front of the tabernacle. By week 2 there were 2 of us. And by week 3 it was only me. I think that part of the reason why I don’t seem to be able to pray the LOTH consistently – I pray it for a few months and then take a month or 2 off before taking it up again – is that it really is designed as community prayer and that is how it works best. It does work well as private prayer for an individual. But, that it not how it is intended – it’s not the ideal.

I’ll just have to see how far I can get this year.

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Ash Wednesday

Posted by james0235 on February 6, 2008

I

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

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