ASH WEDNESDAY is a liturgical celebration which marks the beginning of 40 days of preparation to the Resurrection at Easter Sunday.
On this day, we consider the meaning of life so we receive ashes on our foreheads,
‘DUST WE ARE AND UNTO DUST WE SHALL RETURN’
This is a reminder that we are human sinners, imperfect and in need of some time for healing through reflection and prayer. We entrust ourselves to God’s saving power to assist us in this time of purification, it is a time to become ever more open to God in our lives.
So, ‘WHAT IS LENT?
Pope Francis says, ‘It is a spiritual journey outlined for us that prepares us to relive the Great Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ. ‘ During the 40 days preceding Easter Sunday the Church invites us to invest in Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving (Charitable Works) as a means of re-connecting more deeply with God in our everyday life.
Fasting allows us to focus on an area of our life which may need to be turned around (converted) in order to become more fully in relationship with ourselves and with God. Depriving ourselves of something – a habit, a food, a social event, any negativity we carry around with us – allows us to concentrate on who we are in God, who God is.
Prayer is a precious time to deepen our relationship with God, let us allow him to be in the center of our lives. May this time be a renewal in our faith.
Through almsgiving, charitable works or works of mercy, we put into action the conversion which has taken place and bring God into the lives of those we meet.
As nature teaches us, growth depends on dying in some way, being open to the unknown which enters our life. The uncertainty, the pain of growing into what we truly are, may not be pleasant, but leads to newness which at times can be disconcerting. The conversion process to which we are invited for the next forty days can be a beautiful preparation to welcoming the joy of resurrection at Easter.
So can we pray for strength, fast from fear and give up something for Lent?
Psalm 51 is most appropriate for this journey through Lent:
‘Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.’
Submitted by Sr. Janice Fournier, pm