Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Prayer for the Morning
Let us praise the God of all the living.
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.
O great Physician of the soul
To whom the helpless pray,
We come to you to make us whole;
Oh, cast us not away.
We know that once you made us clean,
And called us each your child:
But, looking not to things unseen,
Ourselves we have defiled.
Oh, give us grace to pray and weep,
And set ourselves with care
Henceforth your holy law to keep,
Your holy yoke to bear.
Canticle of Jeremiah 17:5-8
I have set before you death and life. Choose life! (cf. Dt 30:19)
During Lent, let us meditate on what it means to take delight in the law of love by which Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again from the dead. The Gospel offers a paradox: we must choose to die to self in order to live for God in Christ. Only then will we grow and bear much fruit for the well-being of the world.
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose hope is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
Glory to the Father….
Word of God (Sirach 15:14-17)
When God, in the beginning, created man,/ he made him subject to his own free choice./ If you choose you can keep the commandments;/ it is loyalty to do his will./ There are set before you fire and water;/ to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand./ Before man are life and death,/ whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Canticle of Zechariah
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine. (Ez 47:12)
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…
To God, the giver of life, we pray:
R/May we die to self and so choose life, O Lord.
At home and at work:
– teach us to prefer the good of others to our own. R/
In business and pleasure:
– teach us to seek and do your will. R/
In all our relationships:
– teach us to let love rule over self-interest. R/
In making decisions for the unborn, the aging, the dying:
– teach us to choose life. R/
O God, who planted a garden in Eden, you have planted your Church beside the stream of living water flowing from the side of Christ crucified. Pour out upon us the Spirit of your wisdom, so that we may choose to die to self in order to live in Christ. Thus make us grow through our Lenten observance so that we may bear abundant fruit at Easter, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.