One day past Ash Wednesday and I feel Lenten all over. It’s cold, white, wet, variously icy and slushy outside, snow having fallen overnight and more snow and sleet and rain falling and freezing now. My capable, outdoorsy, optimistic father is likely dying of cancer. I’ve been following Leroy Sievers’ battle with cancer (I think he would call it that) and this morning he is in the hospital, having just undergone more surgery for more painful spine tumours. My brother-in-law was hospitalised and is ill, the cause not quite certain. And ‘I’m not feelin’ so good myself.’ We have almost no income and little prospect of any until at least mid-March. The dog is doing well and finished with chemo but we are vigilant for new lumps, and that vigilance is wearying.
It’s not an easy time. It’s nothing like living in Chad or Iraq or the Democratic Republic of Congo at the moment. My woes are ordinary ones, and in spite of the at times oppressive and anxious feel of medical tests and prognoses, of mortality breathing down my neck, and (much less oppressive) of lingering unemployment, I don’t feel that bad. I can’t really even characterise it; it just feels like what it is. I do notice that I am getting irritated and offended by small things that don’t usually irritate or offend me. Reading this helped remind me of some things, and these Lenten meditations will also help guide me, I think. I offer them for you, too.
Lenten Meditations from Divine Intimacy – lengthy daily meditations with a Catholic spin
Lenten Meditations from Loyd Fueston – at To See The World in a Grain of Sand (from 2007, so dates are off) – Catholic. “When the priest rubs the mixture of oil and ashes upon my forehead, when he makes that simple cross, I should be shocked by the realization that I’m little more than a ghost. Like all human beings, I live at the gate to the cemetery, dwelling there for less than a century.”
Father Kevin at Cell Phone Spirituality – offering brief daily Lenten meditations
Lenten Journey: Encountering Mission – weekly reflections from United Methodist Women
Peace Church Weekly Lenten Meditations – from the Anabaptists. For 2007, so dates are off, but the meditations are numbered. Inspired by Walter Brueggemann’s book Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World. Note: The PDF attachments contain most of the meditation/liturgy.
Free daily email meditation – from the Episcopal Church (you can also order the print booklet)
Daily meditations – Lutheran School of Theology
Lent – meditation and prayer – from BellaOnline; general guidelines for meditating during Lent (or any time)
Tonglen is a Buddhist meditation practice for getting in touch with suffering and awakening compassion, and so seems particularly appropriate for this time of year.
This resource isn’t online: A Season of Rebirth: Daily Meditations for Lent (2007) by Marc Foley. Reviewed by Janice Harayda: Meditations for Lent Inspired by God, Dante, Woody Allen and Others.