For the first time in all our lives, we received the ashes of Ash Wednesday in a new and different way – we were “sprinkled” with ashes reminding us that we are to” Turn away from sin and live by the Gospel.” We may also have heard, “Remember man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Over time our Church has moved to accept either of these statements to mark the beginning of our Lenten journey.
Each year Christians the world over use the six weeks of Lent to draw closer to Jesus Christ remembering the sacrifice that he made for all people. It is a time to reflect upon our relationship with Christ and with one another. Lent is traditionally a time of penitence, a time to look honestly upon our need to be forgiven for our sin and so, turn from sin and live by the Gospel. It is also a time that reminds us that our time here on this earth is not the whole of our lives for our eternal life awaits, and so, remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return.
Which ever of the two statements you most identify with, take them to heart. Use the coming weeks as a time to honestly assess how you live as a Christian in the world we share. Consider making a real effort to spend more time in prayer, to thank God, to praise him, to petition him with your needs, to listen, to hear and then to act in the way that Jesus taught us, by loving one another.
Let your prayer lead you to acts of love shown to your family, friends, co-workers, strangers, in your home, at work or school, in your community and in our world. What is it that you want God to know about you – about how you love others? What can you do in the coming weeks to share the incredible love that God has so generously poured out to his people?
Our lives are not meant to be lived in isolation. We are members of the Body of Christ, a people who love God by loving others. Let us all be mindful of our need to love, to love God and to love all those with whom we share life. May your Lenten journey be blessed and rewarding.
In Christ’s love,
P.S. Be sure to stop by the Gathering Place at St. Francis Xavier and add your acts of love to the Cross of Christ. Our community will present these acts of love to God during the Offertory at the 10:30 a.m. Palm Sunday Mass.