Consciousness of sin-its recognition-is the first step towards a meaningful communion with God. Sin is death-a breakdown in relationship between God and us and each other. This realization should not lead us to despair but to the everlasting mercy of God. True consciousness of sin should lead us to the gracious mercy of God, who loved and died for us, even while we were yet sinners. This constant metanoia (change of heart) would lead us on to holiness: abhorring sin and embracing grace day by day, living as the children of Light. “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted. and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace” This is the confession of St. Augustine. The season of lent is an invitation towards this realization. It is in this context that 40 days of lent becomes a meaningful spiritual journey with the son of God, participating in the paschal mystery – the passion, death and resurrection.
Participation in the Stations of the Cross (by his stripes we are healed), would become a moment of personal ownership of our own sin and the death of Christ. The love of God is so immense that He gave His only son to die for us to redeem us from our sin and shame. No greater love than this that a man should lay down his life for His friends. That is the true meaning of sacrifice. This season invites us to settle our scores with God and our neighbor: forgiving and being forgiven, reconciling ourselves and living a life of the truly “Easter People” until His second coming. Knowing fully well the saying, every saint has a past and every sinner has a future, let us heed the call of the Divine, “Come back to me with all your heart. ” Joel 2: 12
THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE (Confession) will be available through the season of Lent at St.James. By carefully examining our consciences, we will discover where we have offended God in our thought, words, and deeds. When we have confessed these sins and received assurance of forgiveness through absolution, we will better know in what area of our lives we are subject to spiritual peril and will achieve our Lenten goal of becoming Christ-like Christians.
PRAYER Throughout Lent we encourage daily mediations.
HOLY EUCHARIST We ask our parishioners to also attend Holy Eucharist Services each Sunday in Lent and especially during the special days of Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.
BIBLE STUDY/STATIONS OF THE CROSS.
FASTING/ABSTINENCE The two fast days are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, when we do not eat between midnight and 3:00 PM of that day. Break the fast with a simple meal, no meat. Wednesdays and Fridays are days of abstinence when we partake of a simpler meal. Doing without meat, or reducing the amount consumed, is a traditional practice on Wednesdays and Fridays.
ALMSGIVING From the money saved by eating simpler meals and from abstinence from your favorite food, drink, tobacco, video rentals etc. Do the following: Give some of the money to fill your Lenten Offering Box to help those in need. Give some of the money saved towards your Easter Offering to help the spiritually hungry. For what is required is that we give, not much or little, but not less than is in our power to give.
VIRTUES TO GROW IN: Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence, Cardinal Virtues: Prudence,Temperance, Justice, Fortitude. Seven Godly virtues: Humility, Forgiveness, Generosity, Purity, Love, Diligence, Temperance.
VICES TO AVOID: Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, Anger, Covetousness, Lust, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony
THE HOLY WEEK
Holy week is the last week of lent, the week immediately preceding Easter. It begins with Palm Sunday. The Lectionary readings are meant to direct us to follow Jesus step by step on His way to the Cross. A week of remembering and participating in the most important few days in our history … Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, His Last Supper with His disciples, His crucifixion on a garbage dump outside the city, and … His magnificent and triumphal Resurrection from the dead.
Liturgically, the rites of Holy Week are ancient and by nature different from the liturgical celebrations of the rest of the Church year. They are meant to be different in order to focus the attention of the people on the mysteries being celebrated in this sacred time. If the time between Palm Sunday and Easter seem endless … it is meant to be. Time is suspended as we ponder, meditate, and celebrate the great mysteries of our redemption. A slow pace, reverence and continuity among services assist our contemplation of the mysteries of God.
Palm Sunday: The sixth Sunday in Lent is Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of the Holy Week. There is a dual nature to this liturgy. It begins with the pomp and glory of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem with shouts “Hosanna” to our King. These Hosannas will soon to change to “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” as the Passion is narrated and dramatically proclaimed. Palms are blessed and distributed for the use in the procession into the church, whereby we recall Jesus’ triumphal entry and hail Him as our King.
The Liturgical color in passiontide is red, to remind us of the Savior’s crucifixion. We are given full opportunity to sing our praises and to cry our condemnation. We are all part of this great drama, for it is the mystery of God’s redemption of the world through His only begotten Son. The strength of this day is its ‘schizophrenic’ nature. The truth of this day is that we are all responsible through our sins, for the Passion and Death of our Lord. The glory of this day is that we know by faith in the truth of the Resurrection and the promise of Everlasting Life ” with Him who suffered and died for us, and rose again.” “Christ became obedient unto Death, even Death of the Cross. Wherefore God also has mightily exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name. “
The weekdays of the Holy Week lead us through the final days of Jesus with His disciples. We will continue our Passion Drama with Holy Eucharist at 6:30 pm. Then begins the Easter Triduum- the three great days of the week.
Thursday of Holy Week is called Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday probably from the Latin word, “command”. On this most Holy night, Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at His Last Supper with His disciples and commanded to love one another and serve one another in humility, as He did when He washed the feet of His disciples. Liturgically we participate in this Last Supper, have our feet washed and then strip the sancttuary of all ornamentation and finally veil the Altar Cross in black. The sacrament will be reserved in the Chapel of Repose as we watch until midnight.
Holy Thursday Watch: After the Last Supper during the night Jesus prays in the Garden and asks, “So could you not watch with me one hour? Pray you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is week. A schedule will be posted for those wishing to participate to sign up for one hour of prayer, meditation and silence in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel of Repose. It is our hope that more than one person will sign up for each hour from the end of the service until midnight.
Mass of the Presanctified: being presanctified or consecrated at the Mass at Maundy Thursday for Good Friday’s Holy Communion.
Good Friday is the climax of the Holy Week for it is the Day of Crucifixion and the Liturgy reiterates the same. It is prescribed as a day of fasting. The stations of the cross is our attempt to walk each step with Christ. This has been a custom since 4th century. There are fourteen stations on the side walls of the church. Eight based directly on events in scripture and six strongly inferred from the gospel and tradition. Its the solemn procession of devotions and silent meditation. See the schedule following for Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday services.
The Great Vigil of Easter is the culmination of the Sacred celebration of Holy Week and the beginning of the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. It is the climax of the Christian year and unfolds in Scripture, Psalm, Sacrament and Liturgy the story of Redemption. It begins in darkness and proceeds to a joyous burst of light. It begins in silence and proceeds to the glorious proclamation of the Paschal Alleluia.It is the Christian Passover, for it celebrates the passing from death to life, from sin to grace. The story of the Exodus is central to the liturgy of the Word; baptism is the means of the full realization of redemption; Holy Communion is the promise of the glory that shall be ours with our Risen Lord.
This Liturgy moves with austere solemnity from one part to the next, as we watch and wait for the Lord’s Resurrection. It is not to be rushed through, for time is suspended as we recount the story of creation, celebrate and profess our faith in the perfection of all creation in the fullness of time, and the glory of God. Of all the celebrations of the Church year the Great Vigil of Easter is preeminent, for it alone vividly and dramatically portrays all that was, that is, and ever shall be in the drama of our redemption. “Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. His are the times and ages and to Him be glory and dominion throughout all ages of eternity. Amen.”
MARCH 24 PALM SUNDAY 10am Blessing of Palms, Procession, Passion of Christ, Holy Mass.
MARCH 25-Holy Monday – Holy Mass @ noon
MARCH 26-Holy Tuesday – Holy Mass @ noon
MARCH 27-HolyWednesday – Holy Mass @noon
MARCH 28 MAUNDY THURSDAY 6:30pm Celebration of the Lord’s Supper & Washing of Feet, Stripping of the Altar, Adoration and Vigil at the Altar of Repose.
MARCH 29 GOOD FRIDAY 11am Stations of the Cross at the Plaza Fountain (Mill Creek Park) 3pm Meditation on the Last Seven Words at St. James 6:30pm Good Friday Liturgy.
MARCH 30: HOLY SATURDAY 10:30 pm Paschal Vigil Liturgy; Blessing ofthe Fire, Pascal Procession, Blessing of water, Renewal of Baptismal Vows and Holy Mass
MARCH 31: EASTER SUNDAY 10am Easter Day Mass 11:30 Resurrection Eggs – Easter Egg Hunt.