Lent in the Seeds of the Word Charism
The liturgy is a mystery of Christ's love for the Church and for every human being. We should enter into this mystery daily, passing from that which is external to a "heart to heart" with the Lord. In faith and love, let us drink from the fount.
"He will drink from the stream by the path; therefore he will lift up his head." Ps 110: 7
The liturgy is the channel that brings us this living water from the fount, but we must quench our thirst in it. Before being a celebration, the liturgy is an event in our daily lives. To celebrate the liturgical year is to celebrate a person, Jesus Christ, in all His totality.
Easter is the center of the mystery of Christ, died and risen, and Lent is the liturgical season that introduces us to this mystery. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and runs until the Thursday of the celebration of the Lord's Supper. From there, we enter into the Easter Triduum and the celebration of the Lord's resurrection.
The 40 days of Lent connected to Christ's 40 days of fasting, but also to Moses' 40 days with God on Sinai (Exodus 24), Elijah's 40 days of walking to the encounter at Horeb (1 Kings 19), and the Ninevites' 40 days of penance (Jonah 3).
The Sunday lectionary offers 3 itineraries:
1. Baptismal Lent
2. Christocentric Lent
3. Penitential Lent
1. BAPTISMAL LENT (YEAR A - SAINT MATTHEW)
At its origin, the liturgy of Lent is primarily a spiritual pedagogy that gives catechumens a final teaching in view of their baptism on the night of Easter. This path is built Sunday after Sunday, and the Easter vigil constitutes the final catechesis of those who are going to be baptized.
It is baptismal at its origin because baptism marks our entry into the mystery of Christ's Passover; His death and resurrection.
1st Sunday - Mt 4 (The temptation in the desert)
2nd Sunday - Mt 17 (Transfiguration)
3rd Sunday - Jn 4 (Living water)
4th Sunday - Jn 9 (Healing of the blind man at the water of Siloam)
5th Sunday - Jn 11 (I am the resurrection and the life)
6th Sunday - Mt 26 (Jesus' obedience even unto death)
2. CHRISTOCENTRIC LENT (YEAR B - SAINT MARK)
During Lent, the Christian must be concerned with allowing themself to be configured to Christ, who goes up to Jerusalem to give His life.
The Christological structure of the Lenten liturgy first appears in the five Sundays of this season. They trace Christ's path to His death and resurrection, freely accepted and carried out in obedience to the Father's saving plan, so that we might become His children.
During Lent, the Scripture of the Old Testament is of great importance. It must be read in perspective of fulfillment: everything that God had given to His people in the course of history by means of signs and promises finds its fulfillment and significance in Christ.
Gospels of this cycle:
1st Sunday - Mk 1 (The temptation in the desert)
2nd Sunday - Mk 9 (Transfiguration)
3rd Sunday - Jn 2:13-25 (Cleansing of the Temple and announcement of the resurrection)
4th Sunday - Jn 3:14-21 (Christ is exalted in death)
5th Sunday - Jn 12 (The hour of Jesus)
6th Sunday - Mark 14 (Messiah, the Son of God)
3. PENITENTIAL LENT (YEAR C - ST. LUKE)
Penitential works are a sign of participation in the mystery of Christ who, for our sake, makes Himself penitent by fasting in the desert.
It is a matter of becoming self-aware through the use of concrete means indicated to us by Christ, such as fasting, the sharing of goods, prayer, love of neighbor and even love of enemies. All of this leads Christians to a spiritual and sacramental progression of reconciliation. The sacrament of reconciliation finds its proper place in Lent.
The Lenten practices suggested by the Church are:
Frequent listening to the Word
Gospels of this cycle:
1st Sunday - Lk 4:1-13 (Temptation in the desert)
2nd Sunday - Lk 9:28-36 (Transfiguration)
3rd Sunday - Lk 13:1-9 (The need for conversion and God's patience)
4th Sunday - Lk 15 (The Prodigal Son)
5th Sunday - Jn 8 (Adulterous Woman)
6th Sunday - Lk 22 (The death of the righteous)
Each year, the Community celebrates the Mystery of Christ's Redemption in a particular way with the whole Church: the Feast of Easter, the source and summit of the liturgical year.
During Advent and Lent, the Community weekly celebrates a liturgical office in the early hours of the night (the night from Thursday to Friday), preparing us to open our hearts to the solemnities of Christmas and Easter.
The weekly liturgy of the community is centered on the Paschal Mystery. Each week is lived as a "mini" Holy Week, building up to the Triduum on the weekend. The Community experiences an ascent until the Lord's Day, the "primordial feast day": Sunday, the first day of the week, when the whole Church sings of Christ's Holy Resurrection.
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead." Phil 3: 10-11
PALM SUNDAY - The Church commemorates Christ the Lord, who enters Jerusalem to fulfill the paschal mystery. The Glory is sung.
HOLY THURSDAY - Graces of communion, institution of the Eucharist, and Christ makes Himself a servant (foot washing).
GOOD FRIDAY - The cross is the overabundance of God's love that overflows from the grace of obedience. We experience the way of the cross and the celebration of the passion; it is a day marked by silence and fasting.
HOLY SATURDAY - Graces of faith and hope, because the whole mystery of the cross is pointed toward the resurrection. It is a day of peace and rest in God. Jesus visits our hell. We celebrate the Easter Vigil.
4. PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF LITURGY DURING THIS SEASON
The color purple is used to remind us of penance (except for on feast days and solemnities).
The days of Lent take precedence over obligatory memorials.
Solemnities and feast days take precedence over Lent.
The Lenten song is one of penitence and conversion. It is a song without glory and alleluia, but it is not a song of death and discouragement, sadness or slackness.
The acclamation of the Gospel is replaced with an acclamation to Christ the Lord.
The Church recommends that we pray the Way of the Cross.
Time of Fasting and Abstinence ("those over 14 years of age are bound by the law of abstinence, and those over 18 years of age by the law of fasting.")
"We suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." Rom 8: 17
5. HOW TO LIVE LENT IN THE SEEDS OF THE WORD COMMUNITY
1. Valuing silence, prayer, adoration and sacrifices, offered for the intentions of the world, the Church and the Community.
2. Concrete gestures through Lenten offerings.
3. Fasting on Fridays (bread and water).
4. Office of Readings in the early hours from Thursday to Friday. "We may celebrate by alternating the weeks: either a liturgical office in the early hours of the night, or a night vigil of adoration, according to how the Pastor of the house sees fit." Book of Life 45: 4
5. Zeal for the liturgy.
7. Lunch is eaten in silence with meditation on a book reading, according to the pastoral vision of each year. Meals are sober (always remembering to take out an aspect of the meal to offer up; for example, taking out juice or dessert).
8. A small basket with the names of all those who live in the mission house is placed at the foot of the altar. After lauds each day, each person takes a name from the basket and places it at the feet of the Virgin Mary, interceding for the person they received throughout the day.
"We urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain... See, now is the acceptable time!" 2 Cor 6: 1-2