“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.” Ps. 51, 10

We start the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday and it ends on Holy Saturday; the day before Easter. Lent is a time to remember the 40 days and nights that Jesus lived in the desert tempted by Satan, and the great sacrifice that he made for us on the cross. Let us intensify our awareness of God in our lives as we journey through lent and meditate on how much Jesus suffered for us. We first examine our inner life and our hearts; make sacrifices to renew our spiritual life by fasting, almsgiving and praying so at the end of these weeks we can enjoy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we live the Lord’s transforming message of love, compassion and peace.

On Ash Wednesday, at the church celebration, people will receive ashes on their forehead in the form of a cross. It is a sign reminding us that we are made of dust and unto dust we shall return. In Genesis 18; 27 Abraham repents and tells God; “I’m nothing but dust and ashes”. Let us repent, turn ourselves from sin; Jesus will set us free from sin and death. Let us do penance and think of our mortality.

During this season we are called to fast, not only from food but let us put our focus on what is necessary and leave behind what is unnecessary; our defenses, self-interest, our complaining, our criticism, and our gossiping, etc. Let us ask Jesus to renew our efforts to make good choices. Let us cultivate a spirit of generosity. Do things to help others, share your time for those in need, reconcile with them. Let God be the center of your lives and ask for a trusting heart in your everyday struggles. He loves us, no matter what we have done wrong. He embraces us with a love that forgives and strengthens us. St. Clare wrote;

“Let the love you have in your hearts be shown outwardly in your deeds”.

Today, choose a quiet place and seek God, our Father, reflect, dialogue with him and listen to how he is calling you to live during this Lenten Season, what is your mission? Pray for a change of heart. Renew your inner person. Look at yourself and see what you can do better. Let us make room for God and for others! We are all called to be saints!

St. Clare also said, “Love God, serve God; everything is in it”. We cannot do it alone so let us rely on God and ask that the graces of prayer, penance and almsgiving transform and bring us new life. I invite you to read and reflect on the passage found in Joel 2; 12 “Return to me with your whole heart with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he. Slow in anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment.”

You may also reflect on psalm 51; in the Catholic Youth bible.

-Have mercy on me O God, according to your steadfast love,
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. V. 1-2

-Create in me a clean heart O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore me the joy of your salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit. V. 10-12