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Friday after Ash Wednesday

 

Prayer for the Morning

 

Let us call on God

who will free us from every sin.

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,

is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

 

HYMN

 

Now that the daylight fills the sky,

We lift our hearts to God on high,

That he, in all we do or say,

Would keep us free from harm today.

 

May he restrain our tongues from strife,

And shield from anger’s din our life,

And guard with watchful care our eyes

From earth’s absorbing vanities.

 

O may our inmost hearts be pure,

From thoughts of folly kept secure,

And pride of sinful flesh subdued

Through sparing use of daily food.

 

So we, when this day’s work is o’er,

And shades of night return once more,

Our path of trial safely trod,

Shall give the glory to our God.

 

PSALM 50:3a, 4-15

 

This people draws near with words only/ and honors me with their lips alone,/ though their hearts are far from me. (Is 29:13)

The most spectacular feats of asceticism mean nothing if they do not free us to offer true worship and obedience to God. Let us seek the real meaning of Lenten fasts and acts of penance.

 

Our God comes, he keeps silence no longer.

He calls on the heavens and the earth

to witness his judgment of his people.

 

“Summon before me my people

who made covenant with me by sacrifice.”

The heavens proclaim his justice,

for God himself is the judge.

 

“Listen, my people, I will speak;

Israel, I will testify against you,

for I am God your God.

I accuse you, lay the charge before you.

 

I find no fault with your sacrifices,

your offerings are always before me.

I do not ask more bullocks from your farms,

nor goats from among your herds.

 

For I own all the beasts of the forest,

beasts in their thousands on my hills.

I know all the birds in the sky,

all that moves in the field belongs to me.

 

Were I hungry, I would not tell you,

for I own the world and all it holds.

Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls,

or drink the blood of goats?

 

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God

and render him your votive offerings.

Call on me in the day of distress.

I will free you and you shall honor me.”

 

Glory to the Father….

 

Word of God (Sirach 34:26; 35:3)

 

A man who fasts for his sins,/ but then goes and commits them again:/ Who will hear his prayer,/ and what has he gained by his mortification?

To refrain from evil pleases the Lord,/ and to avoid injustice is an atonement.

 

Is this the manner of fasting I wish,/

of keeping a day of penance?

(Is 58:5)

 

Canticle of Zechariah

 

Obedience is better than sacrifice. (1 Sm 15:22)

 

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;

he has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty savior,

born of the house of his servant David.

 

Through his holy prophets he promised of old

that he would save us from our enemies,

from the hands of all who hate us.

 

He promised to show mercy to our fathers

and to remember his holy covenant.

 

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:

to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

free to worship him without fear,

holy and righteous in his sight

all the days of our life.

 

You, my child, shall be called the prophet

of the Most High;

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

to give his people knowledge of salvation

by the forgiveness of their sins.

 

In the tender compassion of our God

the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

to shine on those who dwell in darkness

and the shadow of death,

and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 

Glory to the Father…

 

Intercessions (cf. Is 58:6-7)

 

Let us ask for the grace to keep the manner of fast God wishes:

 

R/We pray you, O Lord.

 

For those unjustly bound by prejudice, poverty, or our own pettiness:

– grant us the courage to seek their release. R/

 

For those oppressed by outward or inward circumstances:

– grant us the love to set them free. R/

 

For those who are homeless and hungry in our own streets:

– grant us the generosity to see their needs and discover ways to alleviate them. R/

 

For those who are our own:

– grant us the love to mend the results of our neglect or selfishness toward them. R/

 

(Personal intentions)

 

Our Father….

 

O God, Jesus fasted forty days in the desert, and there chose obedience and love for you over every temptation. Through our Lenten penances, deliver us from preoccupation with ourselves and our needs, so that we may be free to do the work of prayer and charity in sincerity of heart, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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