Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
O Lord God of Israel, who has come to all the nations through your Son, Christ Jesus, there is no god like you in heaven or earth, for you are loving and kind and you keep your promises to your people if they only have faith and seek to follow your commandments. You have fulfilled your promise to our fathers Abraham and David, who were your servants, through the mightiest and humblest of all men ever to live: the Word made flesh.
And now, O Lord our God, fulfill your promise to all who confess the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, that we may live in faith of Him, loving you and following your ways as He did, that we might be sanctified as your children and heirs.
Lord God, may all of your creation - from the vastness of mighty planets and stars to the lowliness of the smallest living creature I can see - remind me to live in wonder and appreciation of all that is around me.
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love, and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.
“I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.”
~ John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople; sermon, ca. 400
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus’ name, I pray,
The troubles we have in life, if we see them as part of God’s loving plan and accept them as being what he wants for us, will actually help us to grow in knowledge and love of him.
Even when things are at their worst, keep your peace of heart and accept whatever God sends you as being for your good.
~ St. Paul of the Cross
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days.
And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
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And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
n most Western churches the season of Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday, and lasts for forty days until Easter. If you look at your calendar, you will notice that the period is actually 46 days long, not 40; that is because Sunday is always a day of celebration in Christianity, and so the six Sundays do not count. (If you thought your parents were cheating when they broke their Lenten pledges on Sunday, they weren’t!)
The length of Lent refers to the fast Jesus undertook before He began his ministry. This is a point of confusion or ambiguity for many people, because Christ’s fast occurred at the beginning of his ministry, right after he was baptized by John the Baptist, not in the days leading up to His crucifixion. The Lent we celebrate is thus a combination of two different things: preparation for the celebration of Christ’s death, and preparation to emulate Christ’s ministry.
First, we observe a period of solemnity leading up to Good Friday. The three traditional practices emphasized during Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving of some sort. Today, most Christians pledge to give up some specific earthly pleasure; alcohol and sweets are common. We prepare ourselves for the tragedy of Christ’s terrible suffering by engaging in a token self-denial of our physical appetites. We endure minor physical discomfort, to remind us of the agony Christ will suffer on our behalf.
Secondly, we emulate Christ, who fasted for 40 days before going out into the world. Just as he tempted Christ, Satan constantly tempts us. He would have us immerse ourselves in desiring the things of this world—and so, to thwart him, we take a break. We step back and remind ourselves that all of the delicious food or glittering objects of life are not the real point. Although our sacrifice during Lent may be small, it is a moment when we demonstrate, physically, that we belong to God.