Sunday, February 22, 2015

Collects for the first Sunday in Lent

Prayer Book

O LORD, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Breviary (Sarum)

O God, who purifiest thy church by the annual observation of Lent, grant unto thy family that what they endeavour to obtain of thee by fasting they may follow up by good works. Through etc.


Our Lord set us a pattern of fasting and abstinence with good reason. He needed no purifying, but He did need to keep His body well and fit for living. His Body, of course is the vehicle by which humanity can be reconciled to God, and so we see here the need for that body to be maintained well. Our Lord shows us that fasting and abstinence have a cleansing effect. Our Lord, of course, was sinless, but this does not mean that His body did not need to be washed when it got dirty.

If we are to be members of the Body of Christ, to gain resurrection with this Body and find true life with this Body, then we need to keep this Body in good nick even as the Head has taught us. Our fast is that of a purification of our intentions, a cutting out of the seeds of selfishness and lack of charity. Our fast is to be practical, for the good of humanity and the spreading of God's grace of which the Body has been given charge.

Obedience comes from the intention to obey. Good works come from the intention to do good works. Holiness is given by God only to those with the honest intention and desire to be Holy for the love of God. It is through this love.that we must face the discomfort of fasting so that we may intend to be with God for the love of Him.

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