Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
News of the Order and commentary appear after the Proper Collect, Epistle and Gospel
The First Sunday in Lent
O LORD, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God
"O Lord, who knowest thy creation and that which thou hast willed for it; may thy will also be fulfilled in me, a sinner, for thou art blessed forevermore."
[St. John Chrysostom]
Thanks to a fellow centurion for today's quotation from Chrysostom. It reminds us in this season that true saints have a very realistic appraisal of themselves. Chrysostom calls himself "a sinner", and realizes his great need for his Savior. Our Centurion Litany opens with the most appropriate suffrage:, Lord, give us knowledge of ourselves. Anselm of Canterbury said, "You have not yet considered how great your sin is." [Cur Dues Homo ch21]
Quadragesima is the old name for this Sunday. It is about 40 days before Easter and at one time marked the beginning of the Great Fast of Lent as indicated by the ancient collect at the beginning of this letter.
This is a time when we ought to look forward, in preparation, to the most important feast day of the Church year, the Resurrection. I commend to all on this First Sunday in Lent an Admonition and Exhortation as a Lenten devotional exercise.
Perhaps one of the greatest stories in the Old Testament surrounds the Life of King David, and of his sin of adultery and murder. After being called into account by Nathan, David repented and in contrition wrote Psalm 51, the topic of Augustine's homily today. In the paragraph below, Augustine addresses an important aspect of David's confession and penitence:
"A clean heart create in me, O God" . "Create"--he meant to say, "as it were begin something new." But, because repentant he was praying after what manner he hath said "create" he showeth." And a right spirit renew in my inner parts." By my doing, he saith, the uprightness of my spirit hath been made old and bowed"
As we acknowledge our weakness before God this season, let us also pray for his Holy Spirit to heal and renew us.
Our society today has many ills. Some are carried from generation to generation from a very long history of mankind's sinful acts. God is merciful to forgive, and yet, there are consequences :
For even to David himself, to whom it had been already said by the Prophet, "Thy sin is put away," there happened certain things which God had threatened for that very sin. For his son Abessalom against him waged bloody war, and many ways humbled his father. He was walking in grief, in the tribulation of his humiliation, so resigned to God, that, ascribing to Him all that was just, he confessed that he was suffering nothing undeservedly, having now an heart upright, to which God was not displeasing.