Today the Marylebone Ordinariate Group marked the beginning of Lent in the usual way by attending the Holy Sacrifice at St. James's, Spanish Place at which we received the ashes of repentance to begin the Christian war of defence with holy fasts, protected with the help of self-denial.
As ever, the choir assisted in our devotions as we enter into this great season of preparation for the coming passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord over the Triduum Sacrum. An appropriately sombre yet powerful choice of singing both propers and ordinary of the Mass to the historic chant of the Church, recalling the penance of our brethren from former generations, with whom as Catholics we now share communion.
There is something most comforting that as we approach these great forty days we are surrounded by that great crowd of witnesses who for centuries marked this most solemn day with the same notes of humility, assonant with ages of lament for our shortcomings.
Yet as our minds turn from the Lord's nativity to His revelation as servant and sacrifice, we cannot but continue to ponder our Holy Father's momentous decision just days ago to abdicate the throne of Peter and instead enter his own wilderness of constant supplications for the Church for the remainder of his days. This example of prayer, modelled on Christ's own example, is a timely reminder that our hope is founded not on one man, but the Man, God from God, Light from Light, the Eternal High Priest.
Fr Irwin called us to a deeper devotion to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in his homily, charging us to grow closer to the Lord in spirit, and to put first things first, that is our eternal salvation in Christ, and last things last, the cares of the world and the Devil. Our prayer then, at this time of piety and fasting, recalls those great words of our Anglican Patrimony, beloved by our Holy Father and now reconciled to the Church of the Apostles.
Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.