Friday, February 19, 2010

Lent Begins

O God, Jesus fasted forty days in the desert, and there chose obedience and love for you over every temptation.  Through our lenten penance, deliver us from preoccupation with ourselves and our needs, so that we may be free to do the work of prayer and charity in sincerity of heart, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Magnificat morning prayer, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010)

After the homily the priest joins his hands and says:
Dear friends in Christ,
let us ask our Father to bless these ashes
which we will use as the mark of our repentance.
(pause for silent prayer)
Lord, bless the sinner who asks for your forgiveness
and bless + all those who receive these ashes.
May they keep this lenten season
in preparation for the joy of Easter.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Together with Father, lay ministers (including Zachary) distribute ashes
on the forehead of all who come forward.


Lord, help us to resist temptation
by our lenten works of charity and penance.
By this sacrifice may we be prepared to celebrate
the death and resurrection of Christ our Savior
and be cleansed from sin and renewed in spirit.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Lord, through this communion
may our lenten penance give you glory
and bring us your protection.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

I have jotted down in my notebook my lenten resolutions, but I want to confirm them here.  I must truly renew my life, and it is God whom I ask in all simplicity to transform me.  I want to live interiorly more  spiritually, exteriorly more gently and lovingly so as to make God better loved, who is the beginning and end of my spiritual life.  More than ever I want to hide in the heart of Jesus my good works, my prayers, my self-denial, to preach only through example, to speak not at all of myself... But whenever someone approaches me, or whenever it seems to be God's will that I should approach another, I will do so simply, very prudently, and disappear as soon as the task is done, mixing in no thought of self with God's action.  And should I be misunderstood, criticized, and judged unfavorably, I will try to rejoice in remembering our divine exemplar, and I will seek to be of no consequence in the esteem of others, I who am in fact so poor and little in the eyes of God.    -- Elisabeth Leseur

Elisabeth Leseur (+1914) was a French married laywoman.  Her cause for canonization is underway.

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