Thursday, February 14, 2013

Liturgical Year: Lenten Family Prayers




I got the wooden cross here and the base at the craft store.
A couple of years ago, I wanted to make a meaningful centerpiece surrounded by liturgical prayers to be used by our family during Lent, similar to that of the Advent wreath. While thinking and praying about what to do, I thought of the Tenebrae service I had been to in college. Franciscan University always does the Tenebrae service on Wednesday of Holy Week. The service itself is from the old Liturgy of the Hours (or Office) for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. The word Tenebrae means “darkness”, and in the Tenebrae service psalms are recited, readings or lessons are read, and the fifteen candles are extinguished one by one. I decided that for our Lenten centerpiece I would use six candles (one for each week) in the shape of a cross and then instead of lighting one more candle each week, we would extinguish one candle each week until Holy Week when no candles would be lit. For Easter we make our home Paschal Candle which we use all of the Easter Season.

Shower of Roses blog has how to make your own, I bought mine at Target.
This year I decided to take psalms and readings from the Tenebrae service along with the collect of the day, to have a prayer for each Sunday with the Lenten candle cross. The first set of prayers is for Ash Wednesday when all six candles are lit. On the first Sunday of Lent, the first candle is extinguished and only five are lit during the week. We always light ours during our family dinner. Then on the second Sunday of Lent we extinguish another so that we only have four lit that week. On Palm Sunday, we extinguish the last, and then on Holy Saturday, we make our family paschal candle. 

I have not had the time to put together the prayers yet, but I will try to get this Sunday’s posted before Sunday. I failed to have them done for Ash Wednesday, so instead M read me this:

Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
Read the rest HERE.

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