8th Tuesday in Ordinary Time
Father in heaven, tomorrow your people will begin the Lenten fast, and the monks will dine on bread and water. We will prepare for the feast of Easter by means of a fast, but there are no rules on how to prepare for a fast. You did say, “Appear not before the Lord empty-handed”, so perhaps we should not appear in church tomorrow with an empty stomach.
O Lord of hosts, this day before Lent is the day that you have made: let us rejoice and be glad and add to the usual quantity of our diet something by way of additional food and drink, so that each of us may have something above our usual portions to thank God for, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Father, hallowed be your name by those who dine gratefully today on all that comes to hand, for they shall not be gloomy like the hypocrites when they come to fast.
May your kingdom come, and may we sit down today with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as our unseen guests at the feast. May the Son of Man who came eating and drinking, come to our table and eat with us, and may we eat with him. For it is your will, as written in the book of Ecclesiastes, that we should “eat and drink and find enjoyment, for these are from your hand”. Father, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our food for tomorrow. Take away our fear of fat, and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron’s beard. Teach us to look forward to a holy Easter with the same joy and longing with which we approach the table today.
Forgive us the sin of loving fasting only, and not also feasting, as we forgive those who love feasting only, and not also fasting. Lead us not into the temptation of eating routinely today, lest we find ourselves eating routinely again tomorrow.
Free our minds of scruples about desserts, and deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition. Set us free once more in our own land, where will serve you as you have blessed us: with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and abundance of corn and new wine.
For the kingdom and the power, and the feasting and the fasting are for you, now and for ever. Alleluia, alleluia, * alleluia.