All posts filed under: Lent

The Fourth Week of Lent

Collect: Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. Saints and “Blesseds” Monday, April 1: Blessed Frederick Denison Maurice Born the son of a Unitarian minister in 1805, John Frederick Denison Maurice became an Anglican when he was 26 and then a priest at 29. A founder of the Christian Socialist Movement, Maurice characterized unrestricted capitalism as “expecting Universal Selfishness to do the work of Universal Love.” Obviously a contentious figure, he is best remembered for his book The Kingdom of Christ. Though he lost his professorship at King’s College, London in 1853 because of his challenge of traditional concepts of hell and eternity, he was given a chair at Cambridge in 1866. He held this chair until his death in 1872. You can read some of his work at Anglican History. Tuesday, April 2: Blessed John Donne John Donne was born around 1571 and was raised as …

Pregnant or Nursing During Lent? Don’t Feel Guilty.

This past week, some of my friends and I were talking about motherhood and Lent. All of them are either nursing or pregnant, and I, for the first time in years, am neither. They were saying, “I feel a little guilty for not fasting during Lent.” And I responded (in many more words): “Don’t feel guilty! I did, too. But now that I’m experiencing Lent without being pregnant or nursing, I won’t feel that way again.” Then they said, “Write a post on this for the Homely Hours!”* And so, I did. Lent calls for sacrificial love through fasting every year. But that can look different, and it ought to look different for those who are are nursing or pregnant. Lenten fasting always comes with the caveat: “Those who are ill, those who are pregnant or nursing, those with strenuous jobs, and young children, etc. are not expected to keep this fast.” Our Mother Church asks us for different sacrifices at different seasons of our life, but she will not burden us with more than …

The First Sunday of Lent

Collect: O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thine honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen. Saints’ and Ember Days Tuesday, March 12: Gregory the Great Born around 540 to a preeminent Roman family, Gregory spent his first 35 years concerned with civil justice, eventually being named Prefect of Rome, the highest civil office in the city. But abruptly, at age 35, he chose to become a novice monk and sold or gave away his property in order to establish seven monasteries. These quiet years as a monk were the happiest of his life, but he couldn’t remain long in obscurity. Called to various advancing positions within the church, around 586 (and though he attempted to flee to avoid it), Gregory was chosen as the pope. Gregory’s pursuit …

Quinquagesima

Collect O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen. Saints and “Blesseds” Monday, March 2: John and Charles Wesley John and Charles Wesley were born in the early 1700s to an Anglican priest and a Puritan mother. They were first called “Methodists” because of their habit of attending Holy Eucharist every Sunday, as opposed to the popular habit of attending three or four times a year. Both ordained as Anglican priests, they set out to reform the English church with a strict “method” of faith and practice, influenced by German pietism. Their message grew so popular with laypeople (and so unpopular with Anglican clergy) that they had to preach in open-air meetings. They always intended a revival within Anglicanism and not to separate, though the …

Lenten Family Prayer (+ Doing Nothing New)

“Given the many layers of meaning in Lent, we won’t grasp all of them in a single year. But imagine if we were to observe Lent every year for the rest of our life — imagine how much we would grow and mature.” This quote is from my priest, Fr. Wayne McNamara. What a thought to keep us from being overwhelmed by options. Lord willing, we have many Lents ahead of us. What does He want us to focus on this year in 2019? The Lenten “triad” of Fasting, Prayer, and Acts of Compassion concentrates our efforts into what really matters as we prepare for Easter. And we can pray for guidance: “O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgement, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly; Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of Wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight …

Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

I’m always on the lookout for good family resources to celebrate the church year. So I took the opportunity to review Tending the Garden of Our Hearts: Daily Lenten Meditations for Families by Elissa Bjeletich and Kristina Wenger, receiving a copy from Ancient Faith Publishing in exchange for my honest review. When I expressed interest in the book, I made sure they knew that I’m not Orthodox. But as an Anglican, I welcomed this opportunity to learn more about Great Lent in Orthodoxy. The book consists of daily devotionals that follow and deepen the theme for each Sunday in Great Lent: Forgiveness, Orthodoxy, Prayer, The Cross/Humility, The Ladder of Divine Ascent/Alms-giving, and St. Mary of Egypt. It’s based on the authors’ podcast last year and it’s meant for families with children of all ages to read together. To any Orthodox families that happen to read this blog, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It’s a resource that strengthens the connection between the home and the church. It will carry you along with the traditions of the …

Giveaway [closed]– Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter

For the past few years, we have been recommending Laura Alary’s Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter. My daughter’s godparents gave it to her for her (Lenten) birthday and we love it. I’m so thankful for Alary’s clear and lyrical explanation of Lent and Holy Week.  And I appreciate that it simplifies Lenten plans: you can essentially use this book as a guide for all your family activities during the season. Because I think it’s so helpful, I contacted Paraclete Press to see whether they would be interested in giving away a copy on our blog. I’ve never done this before, so I was thrilled that they said “yes.” You can just comment below before next Tuesday to be entered into the giveaway. I wrote a recommendation of this book two years ago.  Here are a few excerpts:     “In the book, Alary sets out a map for Lent, explaining in simple but lovely prose that Lent is for “making time,” “making space,” and “making room” for the kingdom of God in our everyday lives. …

Septuagesima

Collect: O Lord, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen. Septuagesima Septuagesima is the 9th Sunday before Easter, and thus, the third Sunday before Lent. “Septuagesima” comes from the word “seventieth” in Latin. This Sunday always falls within seventy days before Lent. These weeks before Lent can also be called “Shrovetide” and they are meant to be days to prepare for Lent. This week, there are no saints listed on the ordo calendar. So instead, I listed the Lenten resources that we have and put little excerpts up, so that you can see what piques your interest. Book Recommendations for Lent? When I look at what we have for Lent, I see that we are really lacking in Lenten book recommendations. I have a list of our priest’s …

Embracing Finitude

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  ~2 Corinthians 4:7 In the liturgical year, there is no more striking reminder of our mortality than on Ash Wednesday.  Our foreheads are marked with the cross and we hear “it is from dust you came, and to dust you shall return”.  It never fails to be a strange experience, standing as you would for a blessing, and receiving such sobering words; yet it is also surprisingly comforting.  It is a moment of release, a restoration of place.  It is the first step in the long Lenten journey, and it starts with a word of truth; a reminder of our finitude. I recently listened to a beautiful talk on “The Spirituality of Time” by Professor Sarah Williams from Regent College.  In it, she explores the nature of time and our post-modern society’s view contrasted with the perspective of the church.  She makes many profound observations, but the most striking among them was an emphasis on …

The February Garden: A Pre-Lenten Reflection

The February garden is a sacred place.  After the rubble and debris of Autumn’s first frost are cleared away, there falls a deep, expectant silence.  What appears barren holds the promise of new life.  The parallels to our liturgical year are rich and striking.  As we approach Lent, there is a process of stripping bare.  We rid our lives of unnecessary entanglements and distractions and withdraw from a world that glorifies activity and self-gratification. In our chaotic culture, times of rest and preparation are undervalued if not disdained.  We have an obsession with the overt.  I remember when I first came to this realization  I was in my first year of medical school.  Already, I had to start thinking of ways to build my resume for residency applications.  At the time I was voraciously reading books on theology and spirituality.  I hungered for truth and community, yet the time spent cultivating character, virtue, and relationship was not something that could be placed on a list of achievements.  There was pressure to create an external, visible, and measurable persona, …