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A Prayer to Begin Lent

 

ash wednesday 2024




I read today that Lent was viewed as entering into 40 days of battle.  There are 2 enemies - the one within us and the evils in the world.


As we fight for the good, we are not left defenseless.  Our weapons are all invisible but extremely powerful!

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."  Ephesians 6




As we "gird our loins", we receive the sign of entering into combat, the cross of ash that believers used as early as 4,000 years ago (in the story of Job).


During the 11th century, Ash Wednesday was marked in the Church by the Pope and the cardinals walking to the altar barefoot with ashes on their foreheads.


May we begin this season of Lent with the virtue of humility, knowing that any good we have ever done or will ever do is only by the grace of God alone.



Litany of Humility



O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.


From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.


That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.



That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.



That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


Amen.

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