Ash Wednesday is in ten days time and the beginning of our Lenten Season. This year I seem to be getting many emails and messages about various courses and ideas that we can sign up to for Lent. My concern is that we don’t forget that Lent is a time for preparation for the celebration of Easter. As we are reminded in the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, “Lent prepares for Easter. It is a time to hear the Word of God, to convert, to prepare for and remember Baptism, to be reconciled with God and one’s neighbour, and of more frequent recourse to the arms of Christian penance: prayer, fasting and good works.” For us at St Thomas of Canterbury there is two young people preparing for baptism at Easter and they with those who being received into full communion, are beginning the stage of Purification and Enlightenment. By Purification we are directed to a searching of the conscience which should lead to penance and by Enlightenment those to be baptised being brought to a deeper understanding of God himself, especially as revealed in Jesus Christ. We can also join with them on this journey of faith during these six weeks, and experience our own purification and enlightenment’
Here are some of the options that we are encouraged to look at to help us in our journey to Easter The newly formed Diocesan Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis have suggested a series of resources for reflection and mediation. These can be viewed here.
The Spirituality Commission of the Archdiocese of Southwark is offering a Lenten retreat. As part of the retreat, participants will receive a welcome email a week before the start — explaining the structure of the retreat and how to prepare and a weekly email starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on the Wednesday of Holy Week with a link to the video input and some prayer materials.
During each week of Lent, Archbishop John Wilson will introduce the video, the Sunday Gospel will be read and then follows a brief talk exploring themes connected with the Gospel. The input can be viewed at any time to suit you. The talk will be accompanied by suggestions for prayer and reflection through the week.
Canterbury Anglican Deanery is doing a five week course entitled “Exploring God’s Mercy: Five Images of Salvation” This consists of God loves you passionately, deeply and unconditionally. Exploring the depth, strength and constancy of this love is a lifetime’s journey. Go further on that journey. No one can be left unchanged b y this depth of love and so each session begins and ends with a simple act of prayer and worship. Details are elsewhere in this newsletter. You need to book by this Friday 12th February.
This Lent as part of Almsgiving I encourage you to contribute to CAFODs Lenten appeal. Details of this can be found here.
For those who don’t use the internet we will have Lenten booklets with a mediation for each day of Lent called Walk with Me.
The beginning of our journey to Easter is starting soon. Be prepared.