My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today, we are setting out on the spiritual journey of Lent.
In these 40 days, we share the desert time of Jesus. We share in his fasting, in his prayers, and in the trials he endured as the Son of God. We are preparing for Easter when we renew the promises of our Baptism.
Lent reminds us that our Christian life is a journey, that we are all following the call of Jesus in our lives; that we are always walking with Jesus.
The ashes we are about to receive recall for us the story of creation — how God made the first man and woman from out of the dust of the earth.
These ashes are meant to tell us — that we are made from dust, and to dust we will one day return.
We are here on this earth only for a little while. So our time is precious. And God has given us this time to live for his glory.
Lent reminds us that we are each created for a reason. That our lives have a purpose. Each one of us is created to play a part in God’s plan of love.
God wants us to fill our lives with meaning and beauty — by following Jesus and living as he lived on this earth.
That’s the goal of our Christian lives — to become more and more like Jesus. To learn from his words and example how to love as he loved. To share in his mission — spreading his teaching and love in everything we do.
And as a way to help us on our Lenten journey of conversion, I will be reflecting on the Beatitude in my columns in the Tidings newspaper.
So I hope you will join me during this holy season and pray and reflect with me on the Beatitudes and our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. This would make good spiritual reading during Lent.
Lent gives us a wonderful opportunity to examine our lives and to grow in our identity as children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus.
We can come to daily Mass and we can go to Confession. We can make sacrifices to care for one another — maybe by visiting our neighbors or family members who are sick and elderly; or maybe by finding more time to be with our children or our spouses.
So in these 40 days, let’s pray for one another. May we use this time to deepen our conversion to Christ and to become better Christians, better followers of Jesus.
And let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother, to accompany us on our Lenten journey, and to help us to grow in the spirit of the Beatitudes, in the joy of living as God wants us to live.
1. Readings (Ash Wednesday, Year A): Joel 2:12-18; Ps. 51:3-6, 12-13, 17; 2 Cor. 5:20-6:2; Matt. 6:1-6, 16-18.