How Is Your Lenten Journey Going?

How is your Lenten journey going? There are 27 days before we begin our celebration of Easter. Perhaps like me you have lost your way a little. We might need to just rest a little and re focus on what is we doing and why we are doing what we are doing this Lenten Season.

The purpose of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is to provide ways we can deepen our relationship with God and allow Christ into the whole of our lives. It might help if we look at what is happening to those who are to be baptised at Easter. It can give us an insight into our own Lenten journey. Those to be baptised are referred to as “the Elect”.

On this Sunday and the next two Sundays they will be called forward after the homily for prayer. The purpose of this prayer is to “uncover, then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect” and “to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, and good”.

The true pastoral sense of this two-fold act of uncovering and strengthening is emphasised in the next sentence of the Rite which says: “For the scrutinies are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ.”

At their core, the scrutinies are not about the sinfulness of the elect but about the overwhelming grace of God in Christ. During the scrutiny there is a prayer of exorcism. These prayers are not fear-laden bouts with Satan but are grace-filled encounters with the healing power of the Spirit.

What is true of those to be baptised is true of us. We need to acknowledge our sinfulness in order to be open to the overwhelming grace of God. This Sunday at the 6pm Mass we will hear the gospel of the Samaritan woman. Her encounter with Jesus at the well meant that she acknowledged her thirst expressed in her many relationships and found healing through this encounter with Jesus and went to tell the rest of the village.

I have adapted the prayer we say for the Elect and we could use it ourselves this week.

Dear Jesus,
you are the fountain for which I thirst, you are the Master whom I seek.
In your presence I dare not claim to be without sin,
for you are the Holy One of God.
Open my heart to you in faith,
I confess my faults
and lay bare my hidden wounds.
In your love free me from my infirmities,
heal my sickness,
quench my thirst and give me peace.
Protect me from every danger
So that I may serve you faithfully in peace and joy
And render you thanks forever. Amen

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest