Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
Wednesday, February 22, is Ash Wednesday. It seems it comes while we still have random pieces of Christmas around our homes—a random pine scented candle; a fading, balding wreath on the side door of the garage But lent is here again, as it comes every year: the first hours of a long lent when we take on a program of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, or sacrifice to prepare us for Easter.
The ashes most of us will receive on this blessed Wednesday emerge from the seeming dusty centuries of Christian tradition. We feel a bit embarrassed, perhaps, to be seen in public with this most familiar of all signs on our foreheads, marking our desire to begin again the daunting work of reconciliation with and conversion toward God. But it’s comforting, on the other hand, to see coworkers or folks in the dentist office with their outward mark of allegiance to Jesus. After all, it’s just for one day, isn’t it…?
Actually, it isn’t just for one day at all. It may be the beginning of lent, but it’s also the beginning of a new way of living out our baptism for the rest of our lives! We often choose as a lenten practice something we have been wanting to do for a long time: reading the Bible for 15 minutes a day hoping to meet Jesus there in a new way, or striving not to complain about another person even once during lent, for the sake of Jesus who said, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’
There are as many ways to celebrate lent as there are souls willing to ‘begin again’ walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Be creative in choosing a lenten practice. Find something that’s tailor-made for you. Perhaps you will find at the end of lent a freedom within yourself that was never there before. It will be a time of renewal and rebirth. We can face this lent with hope for new beginnings rather than a sense of past failed resolutions.
Join with millions of Christians throughout the world who want to be better or different or stronger in the faith. Be part, once again, of a joyful celebration of new life in Christ. Let your ashes be a sign of your faith. And if you can’t get out for ashes this year, spend a while with Jesus in the quiet of your heart offering Him your hope for a deeper life with Him. That’s a prayer He just can’t turn down.
Blessed lent from our hearts to yours.