Pathways through Lent

Weekday reflections from St. John’s in the season of Lent.

Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent: March 15, 2024

On Sunday, as we observe the fifth Sunday in Lent, we’ll be reminded of a man named Patrick whose life embodied themes of faith, humility, and redemption. Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick faced trials that tested his spirit of resolve, yet he transformed adversity into an opportunity for grace.

The offertory anthem this weekend is a lovely Irish hymn called Ag Críost an síol that was shared with me by parishioner Andrew Clarke. The poem’s imagery speaks of the seed, planted in the earth and nurtured by God. It speaks to the process of spiritual transformation that we hope to experience during this holy season of Lent. Like the seed that breaks through soil to reach towards the light, we are called to emerge from the darkness of sin and embrace the new life offered to us through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

St. Patrick’s life was marked by hardship and perseverance, yet he understood the power of God’s love to cultivate faith in the most unlikely places. He sowed the seeds of Christianity across the Irish landscape. As we hear Ag Críost an síol, let us be reminded of our role as co-laborers with Christ. May our hearts be fertile ground this season and may the spirit of St. Patrick continue to inspire us on this Lenten journey.

Ag Críost an síol, ag Criost an fómhar
I n-iothalainn dé go dtugtar sinn.
Ag Críost an mhuir, ag Críost an t-iasc
i liontaibh dé go gcastar sinn.

O fhás go haois is ó aois go bás
do dhá láimh a Críost anall tharainn.
O bhás go críoch ní críoch ach ath-fhás
I bPárrthas na nGrást go rabhaimíd.

Christ’s is the seed, Christ’s is the crop,
in the barn of God may we be brought.
Christ’s is the sea, Christ’s is the fish,
in the nets of God may we be caught.

From growth to age, from age to death,
Thy two arms, O Christ, about us.
From death to end, not end but rebirth,
in blessed Paradise may we be.

Brent Erstad
Director of Music and Organist

St. Patrick window
Photo © Brian Kutner

Links to the appointed readings for today