Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday of the First Week of Lent

About Reading Through Lent

Incline us, O God, to think humbly of ourselves, to be saved only in the examination of our own conduct, to consider our fellow creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with the charity which we would desire from them ourselves.
Jane Austen

Lent was a season during which, not only all amusements and theatrical entertainments were forbidden by the civil authority, but even the law courts were closed, and this in order to secure that peace and calm of heart, which is so indispensable for the soul's self-examination, and reconciliation with her offended Maker. As early as the year 380, Gratian and Theodosius enacted that judges should suspend all law-suits and proceedings during the forty days preceding Easter. The Theodosian Code contains several regulations of this nature; and we find Councils, held in the ninth century, urging the kings of that period to enforce the one we have mentioned, seeing that it had been sanctioned by the canons, and approved by the fathers of the church. These admirable Christian traditions have long since fallen into disuse in the countries of Europe; but they are still kept among the Turks, who, during the days of Ramadan, forbid all law proceedings. What a humiliation for us Christians!
Prosper Guéranger

O my God, the petitioners stand before they gate, and the needy seek refuge in they courts. The ship of the wretched stand on the shore of the ocean of they grace and goodness, seeking passage into the presence of thy mercy and compassion. O my God, if in this blessed month thou forgivest only those whose fasting and performance is right, who will take the part of the transgressors who default, when they perish in the sea of sins and transgressions? O my God, if thou art merciful only toward the obedient, who will take the part of the rebellious? If thou receivest only those who have done well, then what of those who have fallen short?
Muslim prayer for Ramadan, the month of fasting


Most but not all quotes taken from the compilation A Lent Sourcebook: The Forty Days, ed. by J. Robert Baker, Evelyn Kaehler and Peter Mazar.  Liturgy Training Publication, 1990. 

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