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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday - March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday
March 9, 2011

"Remember, man, you are dust,
and unto dust you shall return
." (Genesis 3:19)

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent with today’s Gospel from Matthew chapter six, establishing the structure of our forty day retreat: pray, fast and give alms, not with an outward show, but with a quiet, humble and converted heart. We will travel this journey in imitation of Our Lord’s forty-day fast in the desert.

Our liturgy opened with a prayer of protection, “Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil. As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this day holy by our self-denial.” Then ashes burned from the previous year’s blessed palms were placed on our forehead as a reminder that there is one thing that none of us will be able to escape on this earth, and that is death. The Good News is, there is life after death. “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Lent is a time to reevaluate our lives. Sometimes I think forty days isn’t enough time to regroup, to get back on track, and make a good conversion of heart. Have I let self-love, pride, worry, envy or materialism erode my relationship with God?

Lord use these forty days to make right our relationship with you,
put us on your right and narrow track,
and head us in your right direction.
We are made for you dear Lord,
we are made for heaven,
this is our goal.
Help us to get there.

Pope Benedict XVI said it more articulately in his message for Lent 2011. “In synthesis, the Lenten journey, in which we are invited to contemplate the Mystery of the Cross, is meant to reproduce within us “the pattern of his death” (Ph 3: 10), so as to effect a deep conversion in our lives; that we may be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus; that we may firmly orient our existence according to the will of God; that we may be freed of our egoism, overcoming the instinct to dominate others and opening us to the love of Christ. The Lenten period is a favorable time to recognize our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing Grace of the Sacrament of Penance, and walk resolutely towards Christ.”

"Our Hearts are Restless Until They Rest in You Oh Lord." St Augustine 

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