A SHROVE TUESDAY REFLECTION
Shrove Tuesday is the day of preparation for Lent, that is, the day before Ash Wednesday. The name shrove is derived from the word "shrive". It is therefore the day when the faithful confess their sins in preparation for the holy fast of Lent. 
The meaning of this day was explained in the Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Institutes translated from Theodulphus by Abbot Aelfric c.1000 A.D. "In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then my hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]." 
So shrovetide is primarily religious, and the same is true of the German Fastnacht (the eve of the fast). 
In England especially it is also known as Pancake Day to use up the eggs and fat which were originally prohibited articles of diet during the forty days of Lent. The same prohibition is of course mainly responsible for the association of eggs with the Easter festival at the other end of Lent. Although the observance of Shrovetide in England never ran to the wild excesses which often marked this period of licence in southern European countries that celebrated Carnival, it was customary to celebrate the evening of Shrove Tuesday by the performance of plays and masques. Shrovetide is thus the English equivalent of what is known in the greater part of Southern Europe as Carnival, a word, which, in spite of wild suggestions to the contrary, is undoubtedly to be derived from the "taking away of flesh" (camera levare) which marked the beginning of Lent. 
Let us not be too carried away by pancakes or carnival activities on Shrove Tuesday. Above all else it has a religious significance in examining our lives and going to confession to be shriven of those sins that would interfer from keeping a holy and meaningful Lent.

Below is a service that allows one to enter into that spirit of preparation for Lent.

+ Let us enter God's presence rejoicing!
Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning
is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

L. Kyrie eleison
R. Christe eleison
L. Kyrie elesion

L. Blessed be the person whose sin is forgiven; whose sin is remitted.
    I have acknowledged my sins, and my sin is not hid from You.
    I said, "I will confess my sins to the Lord."
    And you, Lord, have forgiven my sin.   

L. Be merciful to me a sinner
R. And renew my contrite heart.
L. What would I do without you 
R. Who lead the way before? 
L.When joy seems all too distant, 
R. And all too near, despair, 
L. I know one gate is open, 
R. One ear will hear my prayer.

Hymn  tune  The Church's one foundation

Today your gate stands open,
And all who enter in
Shall find a Father's welcome
And pardon for their sin.
The past shall be forgotten,
A present joy be given,
A future home be promised,
A glorious crown in heav'n.
O all-embracing Mercy,
O ever-open Door,


PSALM 100
Ant. All. Jesus said: "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture." (cf. Jn 10: 9)

L. Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth. 
R. Serve the Lord with gladness. 
L. Come before him, singing for joy.
R. Know that he, the Lord, is God.
L. He made us, we belong to him,
R. we are his people, the sheep of his flock.
L. Go within his gates, giving thanks. 
R. Enter his courts with songs of praise. 
L.Give thanks to him and bless his name.
R. Indeed, how good is the Lord, eternal his merciful love. 
L. He is faithful from age to age.
Glory to the Father...
Repeat Aniphon.

Scripture Reading from Matthew
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who
enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.



CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH 
Ant.  Behold, I have left an open door before you, which no one can close. (Rev) 

L. The Eastern Church takes Lent far more seriously than we in the Western Church do. It is a time of rigid fasting, discipline and penitence. Our fasting compared to our Orthodox brethren is insignificant.
What follows is taken from the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. In  early Lent this is used as part of Vespers.
FROM CANTICLE ONE
L. It is time to repent.
I come to you, my Creator.
Remove from me the burden of sin, 
and in your compassion grant me forgiveness.

R. Saviour, do not reject me,
do not thrust me from you.
Remove from me the burden of sin, 
and in your compassion grant me forgiveness.

L.Saviour, forgive all my offences, 
intentional or unintentional, 
open or secret, known or unknown. 
For you are God, have mercy and save me.

R. Saviour, from my earliest days 
I have rejected your laws, I search hearts,
punish thoughts, reprove actions, burn up sins;
I protect the orphan, the humble and the poor.

L. I have been dominated by passions. 
Throughout my life I have been careless and idle. 
That is why I cry to you, 
Saviour, now the end has come: Save me!

FROM CANTICLE TWO
L. Look and see that I am God, 
who once for my people rained down manna
and brought water from the rock in the desert,
by my right hand alone and by my own might.

R. 'Look and see that I am God': 
let me hear the Lord when he calls,
give up my former sin 
and let me fear him as judge and God.

L. I have been wounded, I have been beaten.
Look, here are the hostile weapons 
which have gone through my soul and body. 
Look, here are the wounds, the sores, the injuries: I cry out to you -
see the stripes inflicted by passions willingly indulged.

R. Know and see that I am God.
    I search hearts, punish thoughts,
    reprove actions, burn up sins'
   I protect the orphan, the humble and the poor.

FROM CANTICLE THREE
L. Establish, Lord, on the rock 
    of your commandments my unstable heart: 
    for you only are holy and Lord.

R. I have gained as the source of life you, death's destroyer. 
Before the end I call out to you from my heart: 
I have sinned, have mercy on me and save me.

L. Have mercy, Lord, I cry to you for mercy,
when you come with your angels to pay back everyone 
for what they have done.

R. The prayer of those who praise you, Lord, 
do not reject, but be merciful,
for you love humankind, and forgive those
who pray to you in faith.
From Canticle Four
L. I have sullied my body, I have besmirched my spirit, 
and I am wounded all over. 
But as a doctor, O Christ, 
heal my body and spirit for me through repentance.
Wash and purify me, and make me clean, 
O my Saviour, make me whiter than snow.

R. When you were crucified, O Word, 
you offered your body and blood on  behalf of all:
your body to refashion me, your blood to wash me clean.
You gave up your spirit, O Christ, 
to bring me to your Father.

from The Revelations of Mechtild of Magdeburg also known as The Flowing Light of the Godhead

L. Lord, my sin because of which I have lost you, 
Stands before my eyes like a huge mountain, 
Creating between us darkness and distance. 
O Love, above all love Draw me to yourself again.

R. But Lord, the prospect of future falls plague my mind:
They beckon to me like the mouth of a fiery dragon 
Eager to swallow me whole. 
O my only Good, help me now 
That I may how sinless towards you.

L. Lord, my earthly being lies before me 
As an acre of dust
On which little good has grown. 
O sweet Jesus Christ,
Send me now the fruitful rain of your  humanity,
And the gentle dew of the Holy Spirit That I may plead my heart's sorrow.
R. Your everlasting kingdom lies open before my eyes 
Like a wedding feast,
Inviting me to your everlasting banquet. 
O true lover never cease to draw 
to your side this lovesick bride. 
All the gifts I have ever received from you 
Stand before me as a heavy reproach 
For this your highest gift humbles me to the dust.

L. Then God who gives us everything answered thus:
'Your mountain of darkness shall be melted away by my love, 
Your enemies shall win no victory over you, 
Your are has been scorched by the rays of the hot sun 
Yet its fruit has not been destroyed. 
In my kingdom you will live as a new bride, 

R. There I will greet you with the kiss of love 
And all my Godhead shall sweep through your soul; 
My three-fold being shall play ceaselessly In your two-fold heart.
What place then has mourning?
If you were to pray for a thousand years 
I would never give you cause For a single sigh.'


My dear Saviour who is Love, fill me with Your love that embraces and not holds back, that accepts and not condemns, that forgives and not retaliates, that stretches out and not stagnates.
Make this Lent a positive time, a growing time but also a reflective time to see myself as You see me. It is only when my soul is stripped and naked that I can begin once again. Help me to shed all my wrappings this Lent so that I may stand before You as You know me. Amen.

Marianne Dorman
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