The ancient church used the season of Lent as a time to prepare unchurched people for their new life in Christ. If you were writing the curriculum for the catechumen, what are some things you would include that you feel are essential to your life as a Christian?
Lent is a special time of reflection for me. It is also a time when personal sacrifice is suggested or recommended. The personal sacrifice as most people I knew did it always struck me as odd. Somehow giving up a food (which is most of what I saw people doing) did not give me any sense of even a piece of the sacrifice Jesus made. Then, about 30 years ago, a priest at my school suggested to my seventh grade class that a special Lenten sacrifice is to give up some of one’s time daily for another. He added that Lent is long enough for this to actually become a habit. Many of the students liked this and did it in various ways. For me, it became a quick wash up of the faculty lunch dishes. (That task was usually done by the teacher who had a planning period after lunch which rotated through the faculty.) It meant a bit of planning on my part so that I would be able to do the small task unnoticed. (An unexpected benefit was what a nice feeling it left with me.) I was able to see how much it did mean to the others and it was two or three weeks before anyone discovered who was doing this. As Fr. Gara predicted, the habit stuck. It also gave me a daily quick prayer time. My day, regardless of how it had been, always seemed to be more peaceful afterwards. This has become on of the things which makes Lent a special time for me, although sometimes it is tricky to figure out what can be done almost unnoticed.
COLLECT OF THE DAY
Look upon the heart-felt desires of your humble servants, Almighty God, and stretch forth the right hand of your majesty to be our defense against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
LISTEN TO "THE GATHERING OF SPIRITS"
Click link below to listen to Carrie Newcomer and Alison Krauss sing "The Gathering of Spirits."
A PRAYER FOR LENTEN INTENTION
Click on the link below to find a prayer for intention in Lent.
Click on the link below to read an Episcopal News Service article about one church's intentional practice of "praying, planting, and proclaiming.