25 March 2016

A journey through Lent 2016
with Samuel Johnson (45)

The Crucifixion … a reredos on a side altar in the north aisle of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent this year, I am taking time each morning to reflect on words from Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the Lichfield lexicographer and writer who compiled the first authoritative English-language dictionary.

Today is Good Friday [25 March 2016], the climax of Holy Week and Lent.

On Good Friday, 29 March 1782, Samuel Johnson noted:

After a night of great disturbance and solicitude, such as I do not remember, I rose, drank tea, but without eating, and went to Church. I was very composed, and coming home, read Hammond on one of the Psalms for the day. I then read Leviticus. Scot came in which hindred me from Church in the afternoon. A kind letter from Gastrel. I read on, then went to Evening prayers, and afterwards drank tea with bunns; then read till I finished Leviticus 24 pages et sup.

Meditating on Good Friday some years earlier, on 20 April 1764, Johnson wrote:

I have made no reformation, I have lived totally useless, more sensual in thought and more addicted to wine and meat, grant me, O God, to amend my life for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I hope
To put my rooms in order*.
I fasted all day.
* Disorder I have found one great cause of idleness.

Yesterday’s reflection.

Continued tomorrow.

The Crucixion … from the Stations of the Cross in the Chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

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