In the blink of an eye, the Epiphany season finishes this week. We heard the story of the Wedding in Cana of Galilee this past Sunday. And this coming Sunday, January 28, we will begin the pre-Lenten season, which means that Lent will be upon us shortly (Ash Wednesday is February 14 this year). I have some thoughts below on the pre-Lenten season and I encourage you to read them to better understand how this short season encourages us to focus on virtue before we embark on our Lenten journey.
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant”
This past Sunday, we paid tribute to Meredith Kuehn, who has retired as our Altar Guild Directress. Meredith has held this important position for the past 13 years, and yeoman’s work she has done! Meredith was presented with a plague recognizing her achievements and then we enjoyed a wonderful reception afterward. Meredith’s dedication to the work of our Lord’s Altar should be an inspiration to us all because that work…and her Lord…ALWAYS came first! I pray we all can say the same thing. Here are some pictures from Sunday.
Wednesday Night Cancelled & Office Closed
Our usual Wednesday night activities (other than Choir) are cancelled this week. Cynthia Hensley and I will be on our way to the Winter Conference for our national church in Palatka, Florida. And because of that, the church office will be closed the remainder of the week. Please know that if you need to call one of us, please do so. My phone is 828-620-0860. We will be back Friday evening.
Special Parish Meeting
As I mentioned in last week’s email, we will be holding a special parish meeting on Sunday, February 4, at 9:45 a.m. to discuss our future plans here at All Saints. Please be sure to be there that morning.
The guys of the parish will gather together for breakfast at the Mills River Restaurant at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 3. No agenda, no discussion topics. Just good food and good times with one another.
Please keep Cynthia and me in your prayers for safe travel and I will see you all on Sunday!
Interfaith Assistance Ministry here in Henderson County is this month’s recipient of our in-gathering of food stuffs.
Flowers and Sanctuary Candle Charts
New charts are available on the bulletin board for the giving of flowers and sanctuary candles. The suggested donation for flowers is $50.00 and it is $10.00 for the sanctuary candle. Sign up today to be sure you are able to get your desired day.
Tuesday Book Study
C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters is our study book. It is very easy to jump in at any time. Join us at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday mornings. Please read Letters 23-25 for the next class.
Hendersonville Rescue Mission
A sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board for our work at the Rescue Mission for 2018. Please sign up for one of the Wednesdays we will be serving lunch in the coming year. The first Wednesday is on January 31.
On the pre-Lenten Season
The three Sundays before Lent are called Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. The Latin names for these Sundays signify that they are the seventieth, sixtieth, and fiftieth days (approximately) before Easter.
The season of pre-Lent is a time of preparation for the great fast of Lent. It is meant to call us back from our Christmas feasting and joy in order to prepare ourselves for fasting and humiliation in the approaching time of Lent. This is why purple vestments have been traditionally used during this season.
The Epistles and Gospels appointed for these three Sundays encourage us to reflect upon the virtues that are necessary for holiness of life. Such reflection is necessary at this time because a renewal of holiness is the object of our Lenten fast.
A virtue is a good habit. It is the settled, established disposition of a power of the soul to act properly and well. While there are some virtues which relate strictly to the operation of the intellect, such as sanity and artistic skill, there are others which relate to the mind as it guides our natural desires and our power of choice. These latter are called moral virtues, and they make our acts upright.
There are four cardinal or principal moral virtues: prudence, courage, temperance, and justice. They were known to the ancient world, and adorned the lives of many notable pagans. As such, they were acquired virtues, ingrained in the soul by ceaseless practice and hard discipline. Their aims, no matter how noble, were strictly natural, having to do with man’s happiness in this life.
With baptism into Jesus Christ come other virtues, of which human effort is incapable. These are the infused’ virtues. Infused virtues are the virtues which the Holy Ghost plants and nurtures in the souls of Christ’s members. The object of these virtues is man’s supernatural happiness and eternal blessedness.
Chief among the infused virtues are faith, hope, and charity, known as the theological virtues. Through these virtues, the Holy Ghost gives Christians an aptitude for holiness of life. Yet this aptitude and potential for holiness must find expression and perfection in our everyday activity. Thus, the theological virtues express themselves through the cardinal virtues of prudence, courage, temperance, and justice.
The books appointed to be read at the weekday Offices during the weeks before Lent and at the beginning of Lent are appropriate to the season. Genesis tells of the origin and purpose of creation, of sin, and of God’s first actions to bring about the saving of mankind. St. Matthew is resumed at the point where its narrative was dropped the week of Epiphany II. It is an appropriate place to resume, for here Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for his passion and resurrection (Matt. 16:4 and 16:21). The Gospel itself is appropriate because one of St. Matthew’s chief concerns is to show us Jesus’ relationship to the law of Moses (Matt. 5:17). Romans is St. Paul’s great treatise on the law of Moses and the Grace of Jesus Christ.
Let us, therefore, begin the pre-Lenten season with minds open to learn about the virtues, that we may be fervent in prayer for them, and for blessedness during our Lenten fast.
--Common Prayer: A commentary on the prayer book lectionary