It’s Ash Wednesday today, the beginning of Lent and the inexorable march towards Resurrection Sunday. This year, as in years past, I have decided to give up beer for Lent. It might seem silly but there’s actually meaningful resonance with the classic tradition for me. In the past people gave up meat from Monday to Saturday during Lent and the shared a family meal after church on Sunday as a mini celebration rehearsal for the coming Resurrection Sunday. In my faith community our weekly tradition is that a number of us head to a local pub to “grab a pint, meet someone new and continue the conversation” (the second half of our benediction). So abstaining from beer Monday or Saturday and celebrating with a Guinness Sunday night has an agreeable symmetry to Lenton tradition for me.
A Lenton Prayer for Reflection
God, heavenly Father,
look upon me and hear my prayer
during this holy Season of Lent.
By the good works You inspire,
help me to discipline my body
and to be renewed in spirit.
Without You I can do nothing.
By Your Spirit help me to know what is right
and to be eager in doing Your will.
Teach me to find new life through penance.
Keep me from sin, and help me live
by Your commandment of love.
God of love, bring me back to You.
Send Your Spirit to make me strong
in faith and active in good works.
May my acts of penance bring me Your forgiveness,
open my heart to Your love,
and prepare me for the coming feast
of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Lord, during this Lenten Season,
nourish me with Your Word of life
and make me one
with You in love and prayer.
Fill my heart with Your love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness.
Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the eucharist.
Father, our source of life,
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand;
let me walk more readily in Your ways.
Guide me in Your gentle mercy,
for left to myself I cannot do Your Will.
Father of love, source of all blessings,
help me to pass from my old life of sin
to the new life of grace.
Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom.
I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.