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Daily Reflections for Lent

Keyword: day 1

ASH WEDNESDAY
Fr. Brian Nolan

 

"Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of redemption."
2 Cor. 6:2

 

Some years ago I was visiting my four and five years old nephews in northern Virginia who loved running races with one another. Any person could say, "race to the tree and back" or "race around the back yard" followed by the words, "Ready…Set…" and they would immediately stop what they were doing and face the direction of the race. When you said, "Go" they would take off running full throttle doing anything to beat the other in the race.

 

Although the goal of the spiritual life is not to out-run our neighbor, it is a call to "run the race" (1 Cor. 9:24). Lent is a time of spiritual preparation that is both universal (all Catholics are called to participate) and personal (each person runs it differently, at their own pace and speed).

 

As Christians we should always be "ready and set," but Ash Wednesday is a call to "go" and begin a forty-day preparation for deepening our love for God and our neighbor. Every Catholic is called to grow in all three practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Prayer is growing in our love for Jesus Christ through spending some extended daily time with Him, at least 15-20 minutes. Fasting is making a sacrifice of food or tempering a love for things or activities - other loves - to make more room for the love of God within us. Almsgiving or charity is growing in our love for our neighbor in concrete ways.

 

On Ash Wednesday, the clock has started, time has begun. Don't be left behind, but enter into the forty-day race of growing more intentionally and intensively in the spiritual life. "Now is the time, now is the day." (2 Cor. 6:2) Don't wait. Ready…Set…Go.

 

Jl 2: 12-18, Ps 51: 3-6, 12-14, 17, 2 Cor 5: 20 -6: 2; Mt 6: 1-6, 16-18

 

Dear Lord, help me to run the good race this Lent, and the rest of my life. Amen.

Dear brothers and sisters, may this Lenten season find the whole Church ready to bear witness to all those who live in material, moral and spiritual destitution the Gospel message of the merciful love of God our Father, who is ready to embrace everyone in Christ. We can so this to the extent that we imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty. Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt

 

May the Holy Spirit, through whom we are "as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything" (2 Cor 6:10), sustain us in our resolutions and increase our concern and responsibility for human destitution, so that we can become merciful and act with mercy. In expressing this hope, I likewise pray that each individual member of the faithful and every Church community will undertake a fruitful Lenten journey. I ask all of you to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you safe.

 

Pope Francis
Theme for Lent 2014

 
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