ACE Lenten Reflections: Ash Wednesday
Written by Sr. Kathleen Carr, CSJ – Senior Director, ACE Partnerships
We are invited on this Ash Wednesday 2019 to take account of ourselves and our personal relationship with Jesus, and to grow in that relationship. The scriptures remind us that Lent is traditionally a time for almsgiving, prayer, and fasting suggesting that these practices help us clear away that which keeps us from Jesus and sharpens our focus and desire for Him.
This season in the Church’s liturgical year is designed to engage in self-reflection. It provides an opportunity to deepen one’s understanding of God’s unconditional love in the sending of his only begotten Son to live among and die for us in order that we be redeemed and saved. In today’s scripture, the prophet Joel reminds us that our God is gracious, merciful and rich in kindness.
We have experienced God’s mercy and kindness in the person of Jesus in the many ways he has been a companion to each of us.
May I suggest that during Lent we imagine ourselves as companions to Jesus and walk with him, side by side throughout these forty days of Lent?
I imagine you have found yourself at times, as I have, asking Jesus to be with you, to provide the grace needed to handle a difficult situation, or asking for help to heal a broken relationship, or to restore a sense of well-being when experiencing self-doubt, or to seek the courage to walk with unanswered questions. Jesus has not failed to companion us in our times of need or confusion.
The Sunday Lenten gospels give us opportunities to be a companion to Jesus: the Temptation in the Desert, the Transfiguration on the Mount, the Samaritan Woman at the Well, the Prodigal Son.
What might we learn about Jesus and about ourselves if we stay at his side over these weeks of Lent, to witness and wonder at the choices he makes, the doubts, the anger he expresses, and the ways in which he comes to know and rely on the “Father” such that he is “obedient to death on the cross” – for our sake.
We each need to find the way that works best for us to slow down, experience the quiet within, and be in touch with the need for healing and repentance. Jesus delights in our desire to draw closer to Him this Lent. He will nurture his life within us, make us whole, and renew and restore us in Him. And when this happens, we do not keep it to ourselves, this experience of Jesus is given to be shared with others – that they may have hope and believe in Jesus’s love for them.
Let our Lenten journey begin!