St Mark's Venice

It is the gift of this period of Purification and Enlightenment that people are able to reflect ever more deeply on their relationship with the Lord who has called them and to strengthen their response to that personal invitation to be his disciple.

Here are a few ideas to take into your own prayer and to think about using with your group during Lent:

Lent:

  • The Year A gospels are rich in symbol – particularly the three great gospels for the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays. Think about linking the symbols of baptism with each week – to form part of a prayer focus and to help people to begin to reflect on their meaning for them. Where appropriate, you might use prayers from the Rite to begin people’s spiritual tuning in to what will happen at Easter.
    • Week 1 – A simple focus, perhaps with sand and some seemingly dead twigs which will (hopefully) gradually come into leaf over the next few weeks.
    • Week 2 – White cloth – to link with those of Jesus in the Transfiguration.
    • Week 3 – Water (try to make it living water using an indoor water feature – or give people an opportunity to put their hand in it and think about its coolness and purity.
    • Week 4 – Light. Invite people to light candles as part of a prayer focus. Think about having the Elect’s baptismal candles ready but unlit with the promise that they will soon be lit from the newly-kindled Paschal Candle. If appropriate, the candle can be entrusted to the Elect or their godparent with a short prayer praying for the grace of enlightenment.
    • Week 5 – Oil. A reminder of the precious perfumes that would have been used in the embalming of Lazarus and Jesus – the perfume poured over Jesus’ feet – oils of healing and of strengthening and so on.
  • Begin to think about how you will pray the long gospels with your group. They are very long for lectio divina in a session but do lend themselves to role play and to imaginative guided meditations.
  • Reflect on how you might create a sense of mutual support and accountability during Lent. People may appreciate being able to share successes and bemoan failures with people they have come to trust – and it shows them that it does matter and reminds them that they are in solidarity with millions of others doing the same thing.