Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Feast of Lent

From "Lent"

Welcome dear feast of Lent: who loves not thee,

He loves not Temperance, or Authority,

But is compos'd of passion.

The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says, now:

Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow

To ev'ry Corporation.

True Christians should be glad of an occasion

To use their temperance, seeking no evasion,

When good is seasonable;

Unless Authority, which should increase

The obligation in us, make it less,

And Power itself disable.

Then those same pendant profits, which the spring

And Easter intimate, enlarge the thing,

And goodness of the deed.

Neither ought other men's abuse of Lent

Spoil the good use; lest by that argument

We forfeit all our Creed.

It's true, we cannot reach Christ's forti'eth day;

Yet to go part of that religious way,

Is better than to rest:

We cannot reach our Saviour's purity;

Yet we are bid, 'Be holy ev'n as he, '

In both let's do our best.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast

By starving sin and taking such repast,

As may our faults control:

That ev'ry man may revel at his door,

Not in his parlour; banqueting the poor,

And among those his soul.

George Herbert, priest and poet (1593-1633)

Commemorated Feb. 27th

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