Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. It is forty days long which mirrors the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness after his Baptism being tempted by Satan and preparing for his public ministry.
Lent is the season in which we seek to open ourselves to God through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as we prepare to celebrate His Passion, Death and, finally, His Glorious Resurrection!
Jesus teaches us that, when we pray, to do it in secret and not as a public display to make others think that we are pious. He also asks us to rend (tear) our hearts (spiritual inner-being) so that we are open to the Word of God and the Divine guidance of the Holy Spirit.
He also teaches that through fasting, don’t look all sad and down-faced but to put on our finest and look our best so that no one will know. Through fasting, though, we empty ourselves as Jesus did, not desiring equality with God. Thus He became the Servant of all and, because of this was exalted above all.
Through fasting we also feel the hunger inside our bodies, enabling us to more closely identify with those in need so that we can also serve them through acts of charity.
Finally, Jesus teaches us to give alms. This is not just a monetary metaphor! We must give of ourselves to serve our fellow man, to tell the Good News that Jesus saves SINNERS!
It has been way to long since I wrote and I hope not to wait so long next time. Tomorrow I will gladly be marked with the Sign of Faith on my forehead and hear the words: “Repent and believe in the Gospel!” and will go forth to do whatever I can to be the Light of the World in the name of Jesus Christ.