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Ember Friday in Lent


Saturday in LentFriday of the First Week in Lent

In the course of His temptation the whole world wait offered to the Lord Jesus Christ, with the one condition attached-that He should do something that was wrong in order to obtain the great gift. He was the rightful King of the world, and was about to regain His kingdom through suffering; but it was now offered to Him freely as a gift, with only this one condition attached to the offer.

The same offer, though on a much smaller scale, is continually being made to men, both old and young, now. The tempter whispers, “Get on in life, no matter how, only get on.” Of course, the world is very attractive. Its wealth, its splendor, its pleasures, are very alluring; and some are so enraptured with the thought of possessing these, and with the delighted excitement of success, that they are led away from truth and righteousness in order to gain them.

There is no harm in desiring to prosper in life; on the contrary, it is natural to do so, and this desire supplies a wholesome and proper stimulus to young people in their work. But when it becomes the chief, if not the sole, object of life, there is, to say the least of it, great danger that those who are thus urged on by this desire will fall down and worship Satan-that is, will accept his suggestions, and do that which is in a greater or less degree wrong, in order to realize their wishes and their hopes.

What can all that is in the world do for me without the blessing of God? If I should gain it all, would it not in that case be a burden rather than a blessing? Peace, cheerfulness, friendliness, are better than fame or riches, and. the ambitious schemer knows not peace.

Yet, success is to be aimed at and worked for, but in submission to the will and guidance of God. To seek it otherwise is to place myself in danger; and what shall it profit a man even if he shall gain the whole world, and yet lose his own soul?

Prayer

So then, O Lord Jesu Christ, help me also to over-come the world, that I may abide in Thy love, and have a place in Thy glorious and everlasting kingdom, through Thy mercy. Amen.
From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

 

St. Joseph of Arimathea


saint-joseph-of-arimathea-02

Today in the Anglican Breviary we mark the feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea.  He was, according to all four canonical Gospels, the man who assumed responsibility for the burial of Jesus after Jesus’ crucifixion. A number of stories that developed during the Middle Ages connect him with both Glastonbury, where he is supposed to have founded the earliest Christian oratory, and also with the Grail legend.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

William Blake


during-the-lenten-season-meme

Thursday of the First Week in Lent-Lenten Feria

When our Lord spent forty days in the wilderness He was tempted of the devil, who had tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. The outward circumstances of the two temptations were as different as possible. In Eden, Adam enjoyed everything that could minister to his comfort and happiness. He had so much that he ought not to have desired that which was forbidden him. By contrast, the Lord Jesus was faint through hunger, and the wilderness produced nothing that could satisfy that natural, and therefore innocent, craving for food.

In the one case Adam had every advantage that could have been given him; but in the other case the advantages were all on the side of the tempter. Yet, in the case of Jesus the tempter was repeatedly overcome, that He who overcame him might conquer on our behalf, and also teach us that in Him and through His grace we, though we are weak through the flesh, may also overcome, if we will.

Temptation comes to me sometimes as it does to all. How do I meet it? It is easy for the moment to get rid of temptations by yielding to them, especially when I may do so without anyone knowing it at the time, even if pursuing such a course must be fatal to my happiness and well-being.

Perhaps the sin I am at any time tempted to commit may be a little sin. I may allow myself to think, therefore, that I may commit it with impunity. But I must remember that all sin has naturally an unfortunate tendency to grow and enlarge itself, and that little sins, if indulged in, become great sins, which often lead to very serious results.

A young person may be tempted, for example, to take some small sum of money, or something else that is not his own; or to commit some sin of impurity; or to spend a Sunday foolishly and improperly; but he or she little knows whereunto this may grow. It may cost him much to resist the temptation: it will certainly cost him more if he yields to it.

Prayer

O Lord Jesus, who didst Thyself overcome temptation, help me, I pray Thee, that I, too, may always overcome. “By Thy fasting and temptation, good Lord, deliver me.” Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls


Cross

Wednesday of the First Week in Lent

We can do nothing to make atonement for our misdoings, or to deserve forgiveness. But God has provided a ransom, He has made the needful atonement, He has rendered the perfect obedience. And in Him who has thus redeemed us we are called to put our trust. The purpose which He had in view in His Incarnation, Temptation, Passion, and Resurrection, was to redeem us from all iniquity. His name, Jesus, testifies that He came to save us from our sins, and not merely from the bitter consequences of them. He cannot save us from these unless He saves us from our sins themselves. The impure must become pure; the ill-tempered, patient and forbearing; the proud, humble and gentle towards all; the selfish, generous, kind, and charitable, or they have little reason to think that they have as yet any part in His salvation.

So, then, real repentance must issue in amendment of life. Plainly our sorrow has not been real, and our confession has not been honest, if we go away and willingly do as we have done before.

Even the most perfect reformation of ourselves would not, however, make full amends to God for any wrong that we have done in disobedience to His commandments; but the perfect obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ has made full amends. In His atonement we can have no part, neither can we make adequate amends to God for the wrong we have done to Him. But if we have done any injury or unkindness to anyone else, we must ask his pardon, and seek to be reconciled to him, as also we must be willing to forgive any that have injured us, if we desire to be forgiven by God.

We must also, if we are the wrong-doers, do anything we can do to make reparation for the wrong done, if that is at all possible. If we are really sorry for it, we shall wish to make good the wrong we have done. And if we desire God’s pardon we shall wish to do His will; and His commandment is, that if we have done any wrong to another, then, for love’s sake, we should endeavour to make it good.

Prayer

O Lord Jesu Christ, I humbly beseech Thee to save me from all my sins, and to help me to forgive that I may be forgiven. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls


africa

For some reason, my Ordo Kalendar omitted this most important day dedicated in the Anglican Breviary to the Martyrs and Missionaries of Africa. The day seems to be commemorated in various ways on various calendars of the Eastern and Western Church.

Among the martyrs and missionaries of nearly 2,000 years, today we mark in particular the life, work, and awe-inspiring witness of Bernard Mizeki, who was born in Portuguese East Africa in about 1861. His legend is set out in the supplemental saints section of the Anglican Breviary. His legend recounts that he attended classes at an Anglican school. Under the influence of his teachers from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE, an Anglican religious order for men, popularly called the Cowley Fathers), he became a Christian and was baptized on 9 March 1886. Besides the fundamentals of European schooling, he mastered English, French, high Dutch, and at least eight local African languages. In time he would be an invaluable assistant when the Anglican church began translating its sacred texts into African languages.

After graduating from the school, he accompanied Bishop Knight-Bruce to Mashonaland, a tribal area in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to work there as a lay catechist. In 1891 the bishop assigned him to Nhowe, the village of paramount-chief Mangwende, and there he built a mission-complex. He prayed the Anglican hours each day, and eventually opened a school, and won the hearts of many of the Mashona through his love for their children.

He moved his mission complex up onto a nearby plateau, next to a grove of trees sacred to the ancestral spirits of the Mashona. Over the next five years (1891-1896), the mission at Nhowe produced an abundance of converts.
During an uprising in 1896, Bernard was warned to flee. He refused, and he would not desert his converts or his post. On 18 June 1896, he was fatally speared outside his hut.

His wife and a helper went to get food and blankets for him. They later reported that, from a distance, they saw a blinding light on the hillside where he had been lying, and heard a rushing sound, as though of many wings. When they returned to the spot his body had disappeared. As recounted by our music master here at St. Alban’s. Mr. Bernard Riley who is a South African who has visited the place of Mizeki’s death, it has become a focus of great devotion for Anglicans and other Christians. On Easter morning, thousands gather at the place to sing, pray and rejoice over the Resurrection.

PRAYER

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of Thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

A Friendly Reminder


©

What’s in a symbol?  The little one means something is copyrighted.  Just like the contents of this blog.

I don’t like to post a warning.  I also don’t mind people sharing.  However, wholesale republishing under someone else’s name is not just dishonest, it is a crime.  It is easily found out (as I did today), and the results of discovery might be painful.

The Lenten meditations and prayers I post are from my book manuscript.  It, too, is copyrighted.

I will keep on sharing the daily reflections.  However, please don’t let it come to my attention that you are copying.  As teacher in a happier and more disciplined time was wont to say, “Keep your eyes on your own paper.  Don’t make me use the ruler.”


Jesus-Prayer

Tuesday in the First Week of Lent-Martyrs of Africa

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he whose confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” God naturally desires and expects that if we are sorry for our sins we shall tell Him that this is so, and also confess to Him the sins and misdoings which have thus made us sorry. He knows what our faults are better than we know ourselves; but nevertheless it is only reasonable that He should require us to acknowledge them before Him if we would obtain forgiveness from Him.

A father asks no less of his child who has disobeyed him: “Only tell me what you have done,” he is likely to say, “and I will forgive you; “and a master expects no less of a servant who has failed in his service. Any one of us, indeed, who has been wronged expects him who did the wrong to acknowledge it if he desires to be reconciled. And shall we treat God with less respect than we demand from one another? He does not wish to worry us if He asks us thus to make confession to Him; it is for our profit no less than for the satisfaction of His honor. “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou halt transgressed against the Lord.”

To do this is a great advantage to ourselves also. For our sins are thus made to pass before our own eyes also, and we also are brought face to face with our faults so that we must thenceforward be aware of them, and know what they are. Again, by confession we also unburden ourselves of our sins before God, and lay them down at the foot of the cross of our Savior, that His blood may wash them all away.

It may be humbling to do this, but that, again, is just what we need. When we have been thoroughly humbled we are spiritually safer. When we have honestly confessed any sin with a true, penitent heart we shall be the less likely to repeat it, and the better able to resist all temptations to yield to it again.

Prayer

Grant me grace, O God, I beseech Thee, with all humility and earnestness to confess my sins unto Thee, that Thou mayest forgive me all my sins, and cleanse me from all unrighteousness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls