Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PM: Special Edition--Ash Wednesday

The Church's liturgically built-in season of repentance has begun.
Your mercy extends to all things, O Lord, and you despise none of the things you have made. You overlook the sins of men for the sake of repentance. You grant them your pardon, because you are the Lord our God.
V. Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul confides in you. 
Wisdom 11:24, 25, 27; V. Ps. 56
Remember in the story of creation (Genesis 1), we were made in the image and likeness of God, who pronounced us "very good". While sin has diminished us, God has always taken the initiative in calling us back to Him, as this Introit demonstrates.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul confides in you.  
V. He has sent from heaven and saved me; he has put to shame those who trampled upon me. 
Ps. 56:2; V. 4
Echoing the verse from the Introit, the Gradual is our basic prayer for the next forty days. We ask for His forgiveness so as to find favor and become His adopted children.
Lord, do not requite us according to the sins we have committed or according to our iniquity. 
V. Lord, remember not our sins of old; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. 
V. Help us, O God, our Saviour, and for the glory of your name, deliver us, O Lord; and forgive us our sins, for your name's sake. 
Ps. 102:10; V. Ps. 78:8, 9
The beginning of Lent brings us, instead of the Alleluia, what is known as the Tract as a different way of preparing us for the Gospel and enforcing the idea we are in a reflective, penitential time. Here, we are again asking for the mercy of God and not be judged by our unrighteousness. We seek His compassion.
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord, I cried unto you and you healed me. 
Ps. 29:2, 3
Harkening back to the verse from the Gradual, the Offertory is the beginning of our praise and thanksgiving, that God has not forsaken us.
He who meditates day and night on the law of the Lord, shall bear fruit in due season. 
Ps. 1:2b, 3b
This Communion verse is our "homework" until the end of March. Most importantly, we need to meditate on the fulfillment of the law, Jesus Christ, Who we have just received. Remember His promise of remaining in us if we remain in Him.

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