25 February 2009

Ash Wednesday

It's that time of year again. Tomorrow, all the statues and icons in the church will be swathed in muddy purple felt, the bell will be replaced by a wooden block and there will be no saying alleluia until Easter vigil.

I'm abstaining from the internets tomorrow, apart from checking my school e-mail, being as it's a fast day and I can't properly fast from food on account of the medication.

For Lent, I'm going to take up the daily office (again - maybe this time it'll stick.) I am also going to take up looking after myself as I should: this is something that tends to slip away in the illness but, as I am doing well, I shall spend Lent concentrating on getting the hang of it again. There is one thing I'm giving up but I'm not going to share that here.

I like taking things up for Lent as well as giving them up. Lent is a very interesting time in the church year. Not only do we sing the best music and lots of gregorian chant but it's a church-endorsed time to remake ourselves and draw closer to God. Saying the daily office will remind me, twice a day, of the relationship between God, the world and humanity. Looking after myself will help me to see myself and, by extension, others with the kind of love and respect God has for all creation. I hope that all those of you who are reading - whether you are a practicing christian, practicing another religion, atheist or agnostic - have a Lenten season full of love and revelation.

For your aesthetic and/or religious enjoyment, here is a choir (not the one I sing in - there are only five of us and Our Lady of the Holy Smokes does not look like that at all) singing Lotti's Miserere, which we will be singing tonight.

Misere mei, Deus
Secundam magnam misericordiam tuam
et secundum multitudenem miserationem tuarum,
dele iniquitatem meam

Have mercy upon me, O God, after your ruthful heart, and, according to your multitude of mercy, blot out my sins.

own translation

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