Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Collects for Ash Wednesday

Prayer book

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Breviary (Sarum)
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, unto thy faithful people, that they may both enter upon the holy solemnities of the fast with befitting piety, and pass through them with undisturbed devotion. Through etc.

On Ash Wednesday, we find ourselves marked with the symbol of our finitude, remembering that we are but dust and unto dust we shall return. Archbishop Cranmer's famous collect said every day in Lent is a plea for absolution and for restoration. Ezekiel reminds us with Cranmer that we must possess hearts of flesh, not of stone. It is only when our hearts are broken into contrition that we benefit from the exercise of piety and fasting.

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