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Look forward to the end of Lent with this ancient hymn


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Philip Kosloski - published on 03/28/22

The Eastern Church recites this hymn during Vespers on the Fourth Sunday in Great Lent.

At times Lent can feel like a long, penitential season, with no end in sight. It can be tempting to give up any Lenten resolutions, especially if we have already failed.

Yet, it is never too late to strive for greater faithfulness to our Lenten sacrifices, and the middle point of Lent is a perfect time to make a new resolution to finish Lent on a strong note.

Here is a short hymn, translated in Dom Prosper Gueranger’s Liturgical Year, that is sung during Vespers on the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent for many Eastern Christians.

It looks forward to the end of Lent, asking God for the strength to stay faithful to the final half of this penitential season.

We have passed one half of our journey through the holy Fast;
let us, then, as it behooves us, joyfully complete what remains.
Let us anoint our souls with the oil of good works,
that we may be made worthy to celebrate the divine sufferings of Christ our Lord,
and to be brought to his venerable and holy Resurrection.

Jesus, he that planted the vine and hired the laborers, is near at hand.
Come, ye brave Fasters! let us receive the reward;
for he that pays us, is rich and merciful.
After our short labors, he will requite our souls with his mercy.

O God, thou Giver of Life! open to me the gate of penance.
My spirit keepeth watch in thy holy temple;
but the temple of the flesh, which I have to carry with me, is defiled with many sins.
Have pity on me, notwithstanding; and in thy tender mercy, cleanse me.

Come, let us, who are in the mystic Vine, produce fruits of penance.
Here laboring, let our feasting be, not in meat and drink,
but in prayer and fasting and good works.
Our Lord, being pleased with our labor,
will pay us with that, whereby he, the one God, rich in mercy,
will forgive us the debt of our sins.

Eastern ChristianLent
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