The practice of observing a divine office has been passed down by the Church throughout the ages. It has been of particular significance to nuns and monks. This is, admittedly, a new take on the concept of a divine office (which simply means God’s work).With a dual focus on creation and the life of Jesus this liturgy is designed to take one on a journey of forty days in the long tradition passed down from ancient days. Just as Noah was forty days in the flood, just as Moses was on the mountain forty days and the Israelites in the desert forty years, just as Elijah was forty days before his mountaintop experience, just as Jesus fasted forty days in the desert, so do we commit to forty days of fasting, temptation, and repentance. In the Western tradition Lent is observed over a period of 46 days. The reason for this is that it is considered inappropriate to fast on Sundays. Sundays must always be a feast day celebrating the resurrection. In like manner, Fridays are a day for intensified fasting as we remember the crucifixion. There are six weeks in Lent, and so without those six Sundays, we fast for a total of forty days.
This liturgy is divided into six weekly sections with practices, prayers, and scripture readings in each. These six sections mirror the first six days of creation and Easter is thought to begin the seventh. You may find one section speak to you more than another, you may wish to dabble here and there. However, I offer this one piece of advice. Engage your entire being. We are a trinity of mind, body, and spirit. The readings engage the mind, the fasting engages the body, and the contemplative prayer engages the spirit. Try to have a balanced practice, whatever you may choose to do.
In order to make the six weeks even units there is an introit to the liturgy. This is the time from Ash Wednesday to the following Saturday – making the first week start on Sunday. You are invited to join us in this semi monastic liturgy. There are a number of us who are observing Lent as a community. We have created a specific Lenten group on Facebook to share the experience together, it is called the Carghais Clochán. Please feel free to practice this liturgy on your own or with us.