Two months into 2022 already, and Lent begins on Wednesday! Despite the cold weather of the last few days, there are signs that spring is in the air: snowdrops, crocuses, and daffodils pushing up; buds sprouting on the trees and shrubs; birds more lively in their singing; days growing longer. New life, rebirth, is ready to burgeon forth.
Lent is an Anglo-Saxon word for Spring, with which it coincides in our northern hemisphere: as the natural world renews itself, so we in the church are invited into a season of spiritual growth and renewal. This year it seems too that we shall be moving forward out of the restrictions imposed by Covid-19, rediscovering what it means to meet again in person, to enjoy a sense of togetherness in community. As we see the signs of new life in the natural world around us, what parallel signs may we find in our community and spiritual life?
Lent begins traditionally with a time of reflective self-examination, confession of our sins and failings, and repentance, a deliberate intention to turn around, by grace to walk more consciously in the way of Christ. That is the heart of our Ash Wednesday liturgy.
This self-examination may prompt the desire to come to the sacrament of reconciliation, to make a sacramental confession. Please be in touch with any of our priests to make an appointment, for confession or spiritual conversation.
Then during these forty days we live this out by practising the three-fold discipline of prayer, self-denial, and acts of charity. Ask yourself what this might mean for you this Lent. Here are some examples:
- Prayer: set 5 or 10 minutes more each day to be still with God; or say one of the Offices; or decide on a particular person or intention to pray for regularly
- Self-denial: traditionally fasting from some rich/luxury food; or making less use of social-media or Netflix; or refraining from gossip, resolving to speak only well of our neighbour
- Acts of charity: give extra alms as you are able, in cash or kind; or give time to a charitable cause; or visit or phone a friend in need
As we make this conscious effort, then by grace may we see the blossom of new life in our community of St. James’.
by the prayer and discipline of Lent
may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings,
and by following in his Way
come to share in his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
With every blessing for a Holy, Happy and Fruitful Lent,
Download the Sunday service booklet here: Liturgy at Home Last Sunday of Epiphany February 27 2022