Friday, March 7, 2008

Modest Goals for Lent

Some modest goals for Lent this year:

1. To read Fr. Alexander Schmemann's Great Lent, which I purchased many, many years ago but have never read.

2. To memorize the brief Prayer of St. Ephraim, with which I was unfamiliar last year during my first Lent as an Orthodox Christian. This year - no crib notes!

O Lord and Master of my life: take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages.


Oh, and one more ...
3. To try and choke down some peanut butter (yuck.)

10 comments:

Dixie said...

Excellent goals, -C!

I am going to read "First Fruits of Prayer", a Forty Day Journey through the Canon of St. Andrew and I, too, plan to memorize St. Epharaim's prayer...as soon as I can figure out what version is the one we use. Last year I memorized the OCA version! (I have to say all these different English versions are frustrating! I wish we could al setting on one way to say it...but if we haven't done that yet with the Lord's Prayer I guess it sure ain't happenin' with St. Ephraim's!)

-C said...

Dixie -

I share your frustration over which "version" to memorize. DearHusband reminded me that of course there are several different versions because they are all translations of something not written originally in English.

Makes sense, but doesn't help much.

I'm glad that when my church posted information about Lenten worship on it's website, they print detailed information about each service. I'm just gonna assume that the prayer they printed in the description is the one we use.

But you know what they say happens when you assume anything (ala the old "Bad News Bears" movie ...)

So if I memorize the wrong version I suppose it's an excersize in humility, right?

:-)

Poem Master 3000 said...

You don't like Peanut Butter? Isn't there a canon against that?

-C said...

Yes, I've heard this. Though it may not be grounds for excommunication, (though I have heard that one of our priests doesn't care for peanut butter, either...)

Emily H. said...

"but if we haven't done that yet with the Lord's Prayer..."
???
I didn't realize you had different English versions of even the Lord's Prayer.

-C, you would never survive in my household; peanut butter is nearly a daily staple here! ;)

Dixie said...

"I didn't realize you had different English versions of even the Lord's Prayer."

It's not just the Orthodox...it's everyone! Trespasses vs. debts, art vs. are, thy vs. your...and deliver us from evil vs. deliver us from the evil one (that latter is what I say)

Plus for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever vs. for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory: of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit now and ever until the ages of ages. The later which is Eastern and the former, Western and in the East and the Roman Church generally said by the clergy only in liturgy...although in private devotion it can vary.

That's what I mean by different translations...not anything huge but sufficient enough to keep everyone from saying all the same words.

-C said...

Dixie -
Even as a Lutheran, in recent years I had learned to use the ecumenical version: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name," etc. In my husband's former Orthodox tradition they prayed for deliverance from "the evil one" and now we just say "deliver us from evil."

Keeps us on our toes, eh?

Emily -
Though I don't like peanut butter myself, I'm very glad that the rest of my family does. During the fast, no matter what we serve for supper, we also usually put a loaf of bread and some peanut butter and jelly on the table, too (Lenten food is often a little strange, especially for our boys - they'll often opt for familiar!).

I heard that a fellow member of my church once referred to peanut butter during Lent as a "demi-God" - which made me laugh.

Emily H. said...

"in the East and the Roman Church generally said by the clergy only in liturgy"

Just a note of interest (or not), in our new hymn book one of the services that we use, only the pastor says/chants the Lord's Prayer and the congregation says/sings the "for thine is the...".

I see what you mean now about the Lord's Prayer being translated differently - um, one of those "duh" moments. Oh well. :)

Don said...

Admirable goals for lent! I'm enjoying your blog. May you have a blessed and meaningful journey to Pascha!

Dwight P. said...

Ephraim or Ephrem or Efrem is a saint who rocks! His poetry is spectacular. Don't stop with this prayer, if you don't know his work. I did an adult ed series on him a few years ago and people really liked his stuff.

I have been conversation with one of the country's notable patristic scholars who refers to Prudentius as the Church's first poet (by which he means a self-conscious poet). I argue -- and he's pretty much come around -- that Ephrem qualifies instead.

So all blessings on your journey with Ephrem.

-D