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Ash Wednesday

 

Prayer for the Morning

 

Gracious and merciful is the Lord;

let us turn to him with our whole heart.

 

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

 

It is the time of solemn fast:

The mournful days of Lent are here,

The priests and people weep aloud,

The temple echoes with their tears.

 

But all defy the wrath of God

And all the grieving words deceive,

Unless repentant hearts are true

And contrite in our shame we grieve.

 

In vain our foreheads mark’d with ash,

In vain the bow’d and beaten breast,

Unless true sorrow for our sins

Our very soul marks with distress.

 

With hearts thus broken by our sins,

Before our God, then let us fall,

Who, knowing all our wicked faults,

Demands no punishment at all.

 

O righteous Judge! O God Most High!

Withhold the forfeit we should pay,

And give both time for true reform

And grace to help us change our way.

 

PSALM 90:1-13

 

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (cf. Distribution of Ashes)

During Lent, let us spend the gift of time seeking the wisdom of heart taught by self-sacrifice, so that, dead to sin, we may rise to new life in Christ, in whom death has died.

 

O Lord, you have been our refuge

from one generation to the next.

Before the mountains were born

or the earth or the world brought forth,

you are God, without beginning or end.

 

You turn men back to dust

and say: “Go back, sons of men.”

To your eyes a thousand years

are like yesterday, come and gone,

no more than a watch in the night.

 

You sweep men away like a dream,

like grass which springs up in the morning.

In the morning it springs up and flowers:

by evening it withers and fades.

 

So we are destroyed in your anger,

struck with terror in your fury.

Our guilt lies open before you;

our secrets in the light of your face.

 

All our days pass away in your anger.

Our life is over like a sigh.

Our span is seventy years

or eighty for those who are strong.

 

And most of these are emptiness and pain.

They pass swiftly and we are gone.

Who understands the power of your anger

and fears the strength of your fury?

 

Make us know the shortness of our life

that we may gain wisdom of heart.

Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever?

Show pity to your servants.

 

Glory to the Father….

 

Word of God (Tobit 4:5, 7b, 16, 19a)

 

Through all your days,… keep the Lord in mind, and suppress every desire to sin or to break his commandments. Perform good works all the days of your life, and do not tread the paths of wrongdoing.

 

Do not turn your face away from any of the poor, and God’s face will not be turned away from you.

 

Give to the hungry some of your bread, and to the naked some of your clothing. Whatever you have left over, give away as alms; and do not begrudge the alms you give.

 

At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans.

 

Repent, and believe in the gospel. (Mk 1:15)

 

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

 

This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. (Mk 1:15)

 

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

 

In every generation the Lord has offered the opportunity of repentance to any who were willing to turn to him. Let us ask in faith:

 

R/O God, be merciful to me a sinner. (Lk 18:13)

 

Lord Jesus Christ, in you dry bones are raised to life:

– renew all those whose lives have grown dry with sin. R/

 

Lord Jesus Christ, in you parched hearts find living water:

– refresh all those whose spirits are parched from lack of prayer. R/

 

Lord Jesus Christ, in you the hungry feed upon the Word of life:

– nourish all those who have fed on words alien to the Gospel. R/

 

Lord Jesus Christ, in you sinners are reconciled to God:

– restore all those who have weakened or broken their bonds with you. R/

 

(Personal intentions)

 

Our Father….

 

God of mercy and compassion, you are always at work to save us, but in this season you offer your generous grace in a special way to all your people through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we prepare to celebrate in full at Easter. Look kindly on all those you have chosen, both those preparing for baptism and those already baptized, and renew us by the power of the Gospel, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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