Lent 5, Saturday – Feria
We’ve got local government elections on today that’ll last for the next four years. Hopefully all newly and re-elected councilors will serve with integrity and humility to their constituents for the next four years in local government.
Lent has gone by very quick this year. Faster than normal actually, when looking back with hindsight. Work has seemed to make the days go by super quickly.
What have I learnt or discerned this year though? This year, the fasting has taken on a much higher significance for me and there has come a certainty and tangibility in my faith as a result of it. To engage in acts of self-denial and negation on the surface has meant that yeah, I think I may have lost some weight (been doing more walking this time of the year combined with less food means that I have some looser fitting pants than before). But the self-denial and negation has also meant that I’ve only begun to skim the first layers below the surface of what Christ rebuked Satan with when he replied:
‘Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.‘
(Matt 4:4, quoting Deut 8:3, text from The Jerusalem Bible in The CTS New Catholic Bible)
Even when the “busyness” of work has meant that sometimes I end up having to skip the hourly offices prescribed in my rule, I’ve found that passages I had read early in the morning during vigils coming up to the surface. Or in the past week when I have been deadened with fatigue, that very verse from St. Matthew’s Gospel and the words of Psalm 1 come to mind.
Confronting my “inner demons” has also come to play too. Sometimes, late at night, something from my past has come back to haunt and tempt me. Including that one “thing” who tormented me late at night in the old house until one night I got sick and tired of it and rebuked it out of the house in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost.
Sometimes I have given in and have suffered with a great deal of remorse and penitence that follows in subsequent days. At other times, my will has remained strong in the face of adversity. St. Peter’s words in his first epistle are always a great comfort too in those (and every part of my day, especially during compline where it forms part of the office):
Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Pet 5:8-11, text from The Jerusalem Bible in The CTS New Catholic Bible)
I’ve had some interesting reading over the period too in addition to Holy Scripture:
- Thomas Merton – “The Sign of Jonas”
- The Rule of St. Benedict (this’ll be in my reading list for a long, long, long time coming)
- Malachi Martin – “Hostage To The Devil: The Possession & Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans”
- David M Kiely & Christina McKenna – “The Dark Sacrament: True Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession & Exorcism”
- D.H. Williams – “Evangelicals and Tradition: The Formative Influence of the Early Church”
- Xavier Rynne – “Vatican Council II”
- Esther de Waal – “The Celtic Way of Prayer”
- Tim Perry – “Mary for Evangelicals: Toward an Understanding of the Mother of Our Lord”
- His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI – “Deus Caritas Est (God is Love)”
- His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI – “Spe Salvi (On Christian Hope)”
- St. Louis de Montfort – “The Secret of Mary”
- Rev. Tony Campolo – “Letters to a Young Evangelical”
I’m now currently reading George Wiegel’s “Letter to a Young Catholic” and have a few more lined up after that to take me well and truly up to Pentecost.
This Good Friday will be interesting though. I was sent something by Zef on the order of service for the day. Looks like we’re going to be using an adaptation of a Good Friday liturgy known as “The Nails of the Cross”. What excited me even more is that it appears that elements from the Office of Tenebrae are present in it.
Last year, I used parts of the Tenebrae office in my devotional material for the Easter Triduum that I had culled from various sources off the net.
This year, seeing as I finally have an edition of the 1962 Missal (yes, that’s right, yippee!) that has the full Office of Tenebrae in Holy Week in it (for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday & Holy Saturday), it will replace my adapted Benedictine/monastic office for vigils/matins and lauds for those three days.
I’m curious as to how EMP’s Good Friday service will end up going as a result on Friday. Looks like I get to do a reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke plus an extinguishing of one of the candles.
Don’t tell me that the evangelical CMCA-EMP is starting to go a lil’ bit more liturgical now.
Time to get ready to head out soon. Have to finalize up some Presenter text files for tomorrow’s Palm Sunday service. Dad’s the worship leader again (though I might have to replace him if his leg doesn’t get better by tomorrow morning) and I’ve gotta finish prepping up his congregational prayer at the beginning of it.