In Medieval Times there were all kinds of strange ways in which some people tried to ‘pull a fast one’ on the Lenten Fast.
Gerald of Wales, in the 12th century, reported that in Germany and the Arctic regions ‘great and religious persons’ eat the tails of beavers because of its superficial resemblance to fish.
A similar thing occurred among some catholics upon their discovery of puffins, which they believed were ‘half fish!’
Some people also sought to pay a dispensation to eat such things as eggs, butter and dairy products which were forbidden during Lent. Many churches have been built from these funds, perhaps the most famous being the ‘Butter Tower’ of Rouen Cathedral.
Activities like fasting and eating frugally through Lent and on Fridays may have receded somewhat in years gone by but they are now beginning to be adopted again by the faithful. Such ‘external markers’ and ‘expressions’ of our faith are important. They subtly distinguish us from others and can even serve as discreet witness in the workplace or among friends and family, and provide a good talking point!
Today, of course, we aren’t encouraged to ‘pull a fast one’ when it comes to fasting, and neither do we need to pay a dispensation to build our own Butter Towers! However, our Lenten Fast can make a difference to other people’s lives.
If we are making sacrifices during Lent, the money we would have spent can be given to others in need. This year, we are participating in Water Aid’s ‘Jars of Change.’ We invite you to use an empty jar or bottle to collect your charitable offerings and to bring them for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday.
During that celebration we receive the command by Jesus to love one another as he has loved us, a command he illustrated by washing his disciples’ feet. And so it is appropriate, on that night, to bring our offerings for the poor and needy.
We hope these prayers will offer some help for you in your time of pain and sadness.
Here you will find
prayers of comfort and assurance,
prayers that help to express anger or hurt or pain,
prayers to strengthen and console,
prayers, too, for your departed loved one and to commend them to God.
May the love of God
and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ
and gently wipe away every tear from our eyes.
And may Almighty God bless us,
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lord, in our grief we turn to you.
Are you not the God of love
always ready to hear our cries?
Listen to our prayers for (insert name)
whom you have called out of this world.
Lead him/her to your kingdom of light and peace
and count him/her among your saints in glory.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers of Trust
in darkness and light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us to trust your love,
to serve your purpose
and to praise your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen,
hear our prayers and comfort us;
renew our trust in your Son,
whom you raised from the dead;
strengthen our faith
that (insert name, and) all who have died
in the love of Christ
will share in his resurrection;
who lives and reigns with you, now and forever. Amen.
Prayers of Hurt and Anger
you know our hurts and share our sorrows.
We are hurt by our parting from (insert name) whom we have loved:
when we are angry at the loss we have sustained,
when we long for words of comfort,
yet find them hard to hear,
turn our grief to truer living,
our affliction to firmer hope
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Father, the death of (insert name)
brings an emptiness into our lives.
We are separated from him/her
and feel broken and bewildered.
Give us confidence that he/she is safe
and his/her life complete with you,
and bring us together at the last
to the wholeness and fullness of your presence in heaven,
where your saints and angels enjoy you for ever and ever. Amen.
When Lonely or Afraid
Risen Lord Jesus,
draw near to us as we walk this lonely road.
Pierce our weary sorrow
and gladden our heavy hearts as you go with us,
and bring us in the end to your heavenly table. Amen.
whose Son Jesus Christ said,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid”,
take away our fear of death;
bring us to the place that he has gone to prepare for us;
and give us his peace for ever. Ame
Giving up meat during Lent has been a long held Lenten tradition
because it meant giving up a luxury item.
Perhaps, with cheap meat and factory farming,
we have rather lost the sense that meat is a luxury!
And yet it is still a good tradition to have!
The Butter Tower of Rouen Cathedral