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Lenten Prayer Service

Blessed Sacrament Associates

Leader

Lent is about becoming, doing, and changing

whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.

--Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

Lent is not an event. It is not something that happens to us. It is at most a microcosm of what turns out to be a lifelong journey to the center of the self. The purpose of Lent is to confront us with ourselves in a way that’s conscious and purposeful, that enables us to deal with the rest of life well. It is not a “penitential season.” It is a growing season. It requires us to determine what is worth dying for in our own lives and what it may be necessary for us to become if we really want to live. - Joan Chittister, OSB, A Growing Season

In this quote and excerpt from Joan Chittister, we are invited to look at things from a different perspective this Lent. We are invited to take time to pray, reflect, and be mindful of our words and actions during Lent in order to grow and transform. The reality is that we cannot be an Easter people without first being a Lenten people. The feasts are meaningless without the fasts. (www.patheos.com/Joan Chittister on the Meaning of Lent by Jonathan Aigner – adapted)

Song: It is With You That We Journey written by Evelyn Avoglia (after a prayer of St. Cyprian). CD: Stations: songs for the Paschal Journey by Kathleen Diegnan, CND, and Schola (found on youtube).

*Refrain: It is with you that we journey, O Christ, and we walk with our steps in your footprints.

 It is with you that we journey, O Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are our guide, Burning flame who lights our path.*

Pioneer of salvation, you lead us home. You draw us towards the Creator.*

O Christ the way, you make the pledge, that those who seek will find.*

O Christ in glory, as you are now, so the faithful ones shall come to be.*

Opening Prayer (from World AIDS Day ecumenical service)

Left: You were accused, Good Teacher.

You ate with sinners. You touched the unclean. You offended common decency.

Right: We had thought you came to bless us, but you keep going to those we do not understand, those we do not trust, those we fear.

Left: We want you to confirm our prejudices, but you shatter them. Samaritans, children, lepers, women, tax collectors, a sick friend, a dead daughter--all of these you blessed and healed. Those we distance ourselves from, you actually touch.

Right: We grumble at you--not sure that we can follow you in this way, not strong enough to overcome what we have always been taught, not open enough to see the depth and breadth of your grace.

Left: Forgive us, Jesus. Turn our grumbling into acts of courage. Turn our codes of conduct into the conduct of compassion.

Right: Turn our condemnation of the failures of others into the awareness of our failure to love others with your grace and compassion.

All: Forgive us, Jesus, and make us new, until we become one with the lost ones, until we become lost in your love. Amen.

Reader 1

And the Lord said: I will give you a new heart, and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts, and giving you hearts of love. I will put my spirit within you, and make you live by my ways, careful to observe my decrees. (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)

Pause for quiet reflection

Reader 2: God of Love, help us to….

FAST from judging others and FEAST on God dwelling within them.

FAST from emphasis on differences and FEAST on the unity of all life.

FAST from problems that overwhelm and FEAST on prayer that upholds.

FAST from impatience and FEAST on patience.

Refrain: (sung or recited) It is with you that we journey, O Christ, and we walk with our steps in your footprints. It is with you that we journey, O Christ.

Reader 3: God of Life, help us to….

FAST from words that belittle and FEAST on phrases that respect.

FAST from discontent and FEAST on gratitude.

FAST from anger and FEAST on inner peace.

FAST from pessimism and FEAST on optimism.

Refrain

Reader 4: God of Light, help us to….

FAST from worry and FEAST on trusting in God.

FAST from complaining and FEAST on appreciation.

FAST from negatives and FEAST on affirmatives.

FAST from unrelenting pressures and FEAST on unceasing prayer.

Refrain

Reader 5: God of Mercy, help us to….

FAST from hostility; FEAST on non-resistance.

FAST from bitterness; FEAST on forgiveness.

FAST from concern only for ourselves; FEAST on compassion for others.

FAST from idle gossip; FEAST on purposeful silence.

Refrain

Reader 6: God of Compassion, help us to….

FAST from discouragement; FEAST on hope.

FAST from facts that depress; FEAST on accuracies that uplift.

FAST from lethargy; FEAST on enthusiasm.

FAST from suspicion; FEAST on truth.

Quiet Time for Reflection

Reflection Questions

Please choose one to share with the group:

  1. Where is God calling you this Lent?
  2. Are there other ways not mentioned that you are being called to fast and feast during this Lenten season?

Sharing

Petitions

Closing Prayer

All: Jesus, give us the strength and courage we need this Lenten season to be transformed. Help us fast from any words, actions, and attitudes that are destructive to ourselves and others. Help us to journey with you and walk in your footsteps so that we may feast on ways that are life giving, heart opening, peace bringing, and love creating. Amen.

 

 

 

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