Lent- Its meaning and significance
Prayer, Fasting and Abstinence
Special Services and Devotions
Since the days of the early church, Christians have observed a special time to "prepare" for Jesus’ death and Resurrection. The season of Lent (from the word "lengthen," since days grow longer in the spring) commemorates the final days of Jesus’ ministry and His preparation to travel to Jerusalem to die. There He would face the most gruesome death possible – Crucifixion – and the most anguish ever experienced as He suffered for all the sins of all the people of the world.
The 40 days of Lent are a holy time when we as Christians spiritually make that pilgrimage to the cross with Jesus, remembering His words:
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matt. 16:24).
The goal of Lent is to stay focused on the cross ahead and to come to personally understand Jesus’ supreme sacrifice of love.
Lent gives us a blessed opportunity to practice confession, repentance, prayer, fasting, special offerings and acts of love to others. We try to walk in our Saviour’s footsteps and we also encourage others to keep their eyes on the end-point of this journey – the cross and our salvation. We set aside time for peaceful meditation throughout Lent, we join in its meaningful liturgical celebrations and devotions, asking God to deepen our faith and to give us a greater realisation of how our sin sent Jesus to the cross.
Prayer, Fasting and Abstinence
It is helpful to take the days prior to Lent, or the first days of Lent itself, to reflect carefully on an appropriate Lenten Rule, so that our preparation for the Christian Pasch may be a time of true strengthening of our Christian discipleship, a deepening of our relationship with Jesus and real conversion of our lives.
The traditional categories to consider are three: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. It may be that Lent will best be a time of rededication to an already established Rule of Life, in which we may have become lax over the year, or a time of focusing on a particular area of our Life in Christ. It is better to aim at a minimal addition to our Rule, or the establishment of a simple one if we don't already have one, rather than taking on or giving up so much that we succumb to despair.
Whatever the Lord leads you into in your prayers for guidance in developing your Lenten Rule, here are some things to consider in each of the areas:
1.The Daily Offices
Offering Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer corporately, if possible, or privately, if necessary. The Book of Common Prayer may be a good place to start for some – there are other more modern and accessible versions too, such as the one we use daily in church which is available online at: universalis.com
2. Eucharistic Devotion
Attendance at Mass and making your communion on Sundays and Holy Days. As a minimum requirement: attendance at an additional weekday Mass. Serious preparation before Mass to enable deeper participation. Sending time before Jesus in his Blessed Sacrament. Coming to Eucharistic Adoration before Mass on Wednesdays.
3. Personal Scripture Reading and Prayer
Reading Scripture daily according to some organised plan; for example, the tables at the front of the Prayer Book, or from a Lectionary or those supplied by the BibleSociety. Meditation on a particular theme during Lent, such as our Lord's Passion. A programme of intercessory prayer. [You can use the Weekly Intercession Sheet given out every Sunday].
Confession – The Sacrament of Reconciliation
A programme of regular self-examination, making a regular Confession. [Confessions at Saint Martin’s are heard in the Church between 10:30 - 11.00 a.m. on Saturdays, at other times as advertised on the Sunday Bulletin or by appointment with Father Victor or Father Ian]
1. Observance of the Ash Wednesday & Good Friday fasts
One meat free meal only on Ash Wednesday & Good Friday if you are physically able. Abstinence from flesh meat on all Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent.
2. Discipline in eating habits in general
Eating less at meals, eating more slowly. Cultivating discipline in other habits, "fasting" from television, entertainment's and shallow pursuits. Moving towards a generally simpler lifestyle.
3. Offering the fast for a specific intention
Peace, unity of the Church, identification with the poor and hungry, reparation. Making a financial or other contribution to an organisation or group [such as our own parish Food Basket Project or to Ruvuma] addressing the problems of hunger and the homeless.
4. Dealing seriously with a besetting sin (the one that we keep committing again and again)
Striving for a particular virtue in our Christian journey.
1. Becoming a good steward
Of all the God has given you. Tithing of your income, or working towards the tithing standard. Giving sacrificially to the mission of the Parish.
2. Acts of mercy and generosity
In the Name of Christ to those less fortunate. Going beyond your current involvements.
PALM SUNDAY - 28th March
8.00 am Low Mass
10.00 am THE BLESSING OF PALMS AND PARISH - MASS
MONDAY-WEDNESDAY - 29th-31st March
7.00 pm Low Mass and Meditation
MAUNDY THURSDAY - 1st April
7.00 pm MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
GOOD FRIDAY - 2nd April
1.00 pm Children’s Service
3.00 pm LITURGY OF THE LORD’S PASSION
HOLY SATURDAY - 3rd April
10.00 am Office of Readings and Morning Prayer
8.00 pm BLESSINGOF THE EASTER CANDLE, VIGIL - AND FIRST MASS OF EASTER
EASTER SUNDAY- 4th April
8.00 am Low Mass
11.00 am SOLEMN PONTIFICAL MASS
- with the Rt. Reverend Jonathan Goodall - our Bishop
PLEASE NOTE-ON THIS SUNDAY THE 11am START
Sunday 26th March - Saturday 3rd April