Lenten Meditations: Ash Wednesday

Feb 14, 2018 by

                                    PSALM                       Old Testament              Epistle                              Gospel

Ash Wed
Feb 14
am: 95, 32, 143
pm: 102, 130
Joel 3:1-4:11 Heb 12:1-14 Luke 18:9-14

Ash Wednesday

LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY:   As we begin this holy season of Lent in preparation for Easter, we must remember the significance of the ashes we have received: We mourn and do penance for our sins. We again convert our hearts to the Lord, who suffered, died, and rose for our salvation. We renew the promises made at our baptism, when we died to an old life and rose to a new life with Christ. Finally, mindful that the kingdom of this world passes away, we strive to live the kingdom of God now and look forward to its fulfillment in heaven.

So today we consider these three practices which have come to be recognized as a standard of spiritual maturity and growth because in them the Lord calls us to be true to ourselves, to our own hearts, and to the eternal understanding of God.

  1. Prayer – This Lent try to spend a little more conscious time with God each day,
  2. Fasting doesn’t have to be from food & drink, it could be from an activity that takes you away from your family.
  3. Almsgiving or acts of charity can be something global or something local.

We consider these changes in our daily life patterns because they help us focus on a pivotal life and faith question, namely whether we are living the values of the gospel and the fullness of the faith once delivered to the saints. This question comes into clear focus when we are reminded in the Ash Wednesday Liturgy, “Dust thou art and unto dust thou shall return”. For such a return to the Lord, changes need to be made so, we enter this day and this season. Increasingly in our culture people either do not understand this act or think it utterly odd. In the life of the church catholic ashes are a sacramental. Our reception of them is a sign of humility and penance.  But so public, some may think? Well, we wear them publicly to acknowledge publicly that we need to atone for our sins which are never just a private moment. It has its roots in the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting and writings from the Second-century Church Father refer to the wearing of ashes as a sign of penance. So, we inherit a great spiritual legacy this day.

MEDITATION OF THE DAY: In the first lesson of the liturgy for today, the Prophet Joel exhorts the Jews to sorrow and penance for their sins that they evade the expected judgment to be sent by God upon the city of Jerusalem. He required of them to show their repentance not merely by rending their garments, a sign of mourning with the Jews, but by a truly contrite heart. The Church wishes us to see plainly from this lesson of the prophet what qualities our penance should possess, if we desire reconciliation with God, forgiveness of our sins, and deliverance at the Last Day, which qualities are not merely abstinence from food and amusements, but the practice of real mortification of our evil inclinations, thus becoming with our whole heart converted to God.

PRAYER OF THE DAY:  O Lord remind us during these 40 days when we are feeling
proud, arrogant, pleased with ourselves, self-sufficient in our ways,
that for you came down to this earth for the likes of us and took a journey that led to the cruelty of the cross which you carried in humility. Teach us the same in these holy days we pray. Amen
ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE: “Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy. And Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lent fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast. It cannot be otherwise, as it forms part of the great Easter cycle”Thomas Merton

Lenten Discipline –   Go to  https://christdesert.org/prayer/rule-of-st-benedict/chapter-49-the-observance-of-lent/.. And read and consider the words of St. Benedict about the observance of a Holy Lent to get one’s self oriented in the days ahead

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