I am learning SO much this lent, thanks to a coterie of very good friends who are my God chosen companions in the gospel pilgrimage of salvation. Most local, but two more distant.
Lent is a microcosm of our entire life of discipleship. The season in which that which is always true, our struggle for salvation, is emphasized. We choose it in these days in these circumstances so we may be able to choose it in all times and in all places. It is not intended to be a breathless race of moral athleticism but a realization and loving embrace of our authentic personhood.
The “what” question will always lead us to “now what?” and “what’s next?” The “who” question seeks to live in the “there is ‘now’ and ‘this’ and no ‘next.’” The “who” question is one eternal delight. The “what” question is an endless series of disappointing “not enough’s.”
The Prayer of St. Ephrem
O Lord and Master of my life,
give me not a spirit of sloth, despondency,
lust for power, and idle talk.
But give to me Thy servant
a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love.
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own transgressions
and not to judge my brother;
for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen. St. Ephrem (306-373)
Prayer of St. Botheius
Grant then, O Father that this mind of ours may rise to Your throne of majesty; grant us to reach that fount of good. Grant that we may so find light that we may set on You unblinded eyes; cast You from there the heavy clouds of this material world. Shine forth upon us in Your own true glory. You are the bright and peaceful rest of all Your children that worship You. To see You clearly is the limit of our aim. You are our beginning, our progress our guide, our way, our end.
“O Holy One, give the spirit power to climb to the fountain of all light, and be purified. Break through the mists of the earth, the weight of the clod, shine forth in splendor, thou that art calm weather, and quiet resting place for faithful souls. To see thee is the end and the beginning, thou carriest us, and thou dost go before, thou art the journey, and the journey’s end.” St. Boethius (c. 480-525)