We must remember the original meaning of Lent which is the ver sacrum, the church’s “holy Spring” in which the catechumens were prepared for their baptism, and public penitents were made ready by penance for their restoration to the sacramental life in communion with the rest of the church. Lent is then not a season of punishment so much as one of healing. (Thomas Merton)

A Prayer from “Common Worship”

Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin. Give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen. (Collect for Lent 1)

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