As we begin our forty days of Lenten fasting and prayer (and absence from blog posting!), we leave you with this thought from our brother, Jordan of Saxony, who left this thought with our sister, Diana d'Andalo, in a letter he wrote her during Passiontide 1233 (excerpted from To Heaven With Diana!):
"Why, beloved daughter, do I write these poor little letters to you to comfort your heart when you can find a far sweeter and more precious consolation simply by taking up and reading the book which you have daily before the eyes of your mind, the book of life, the book of the Lord's perfect law which brings life back to souls? This law, which is called immaculate because it takes away all stains, is charity: you see it writ with wonderful beauty when you gaze on your Saviour Jesus stretched out on the cross, as though a parchment, his wounds the writing, his blood the illuminations. Where, I ask you, my beloved, could the lesson of love be learnt as it is learnt here? You know very well that no letter can move the reader so vehemently to love as this...
Take up this book, open it and read, and you shall see how the prophet finds in it lamentations and canticles and woe: lamentations for the sorrows which he bore; canticles for the joys which he won you by his sorrows; woe to eternal death from which by his death he redeemed you."
Pray that we will be very busy indeed in fulfilling this "reading assignment"! And, by all means, join us!
FOOTNOTE: "TO DAMPEN OR NOT TO DAMPEN": THE SYMBOLISM OF ASHES
In preparing for Ash Wednesday, our sister sacristan consulted the sacristy manual, a looseleaf binder of various notes and instructions (at time helpful, and, at times contradictory), featuring glosses from several past sacristans. She came across this notation today and thought that our readers would enjoy it:
"Up until Ash Wednesday of 1993, we used dampened ashes. Father did not dampen the ashes (he didn't even know what the cruet and silver spoon were for)...dry ashes made a much nicer cross.
Regarding symbolism: we are supposed to return to dust. Not to mud pies."
What more can we say except...
BLESSED LENT! SEE YOU AT THE EMPTY TOMB!