Just a Suggestion!
To help you en-route there is a Lenten Ideas Board at St Mary's with a variety of small suggestions and ideas for your Lenten journey.
You are invited to choose one (or more) that appeals to you, and see what difference can be made! You can, of course, take as many cards as you want or come back during Lent to consider other things to do. You may also have your own ideas—if so, why not add them to the board for others to see?
Old and New!
At first glance the ideas may appear to be a mixture of the old traditional things (yes, giving up chocolate is there!) and some seemingly bizarre suggestions. After all, what has ‘not using plastic carrier bags’ got to do with the Gospel?! You will see that all of the suggestions are concerned with life, with the world, with changing the world and strengthening our relationship with God.
So, for example, if we value the world that God has given us, then recycling and refusing to use plastic carrier bags can change the world for the better. So there are suggestions with a ‘green ‘theme: to help us value and care for God’s creation! Even feeding the birds is there!
Other suggestions may seem rather vague! For example, ‘During Lent I am going to count my blessings.’ We are such good complainers, and quite often we can only ever see the difficulties and burdens of life. Why not, at the end of every day, write down your blessings? They could be anything! Imagine what kind of list you could have throughout Lent, and how it could change us from being ungrateful, complaining individuals into people who believe we really are blessed and, since we are blessed, thankful to God.
Some of us may grow as a result of spending more time with our family, or getting in touch with friends and relatives we haven’t seen for a while.
Some of us may need to stop being so lazy, others to stop being so busy! Perhaps it could be a good Lenten gesture to cook a meal for your family every week (this one is particularly helpful if you are not the one who usually does that kind of thing!) Perhaps you could have a ‘No Television Evening’ and spend time reading a devotional book, or spending time together as a family.
Perhaps you need to pause before you leave the house for work, or before you go to bed at night to spend a few moments in prayer. Or maybe your ’quiet’ time or ‘prayer’ time may be out of the house, where you can walk and think and pray.
Maybe it would be a good thing to go to a midweek Mass during Lent, or even to make more of an effort to attend Mass every Sunday. Perhaps you would like to learn the rosary or pray the Stations of the Cross, or say the Angelus three times a day. There are many suggestions available!
Whatever you decide to do, remember that you are not alone. There are millions of Christians around the world trying to strengthen their faith, grow closer to God and bear fruit in their lives. And, of course, we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are part of the same worshipping community here at St Mary’s!
Once you’ve decided what kind of Lenten suggestion you will take to heart, replace your Suggestion Card with one of the Encouragement Cards: asking others for their prayers, assuring them of yours, and encouraging them on their Lenten journey!
Closer to God
Lent is about conversion of heart: turning away from sin and embracing the life God offers us. At our Baptism we did just that but Baptism isn’t just a past event. We are constantly called to ‘Come to the Water,’ to come back to Christ, who quenches our thirst, fulfils our longings, and gives us all we need.
So whether we are giving something up or taking something on, our journey is intended to lead us closer to God!
During this Lent we have the joy and privilege of growing together as brothers and sisters in the Lord. So, may God Bless you this Lent. Whatever you ‘give up’, don’t give up! And what ever you ‘take up’, may it lead you closer to Jesus our Saviour.
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
During Lent we are invited to make a journey.
Like any journey, we will bear more fruit if we plan our way!
Before Lent begins, it’s good to make a few preparations
so that we can make good use of it!