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Lenten Meditations – Ash Wednesday

Ash Wed
Mar 13
am: Ps 95, 32, 143
pm: 102, 130
Joel 3:1-4:11
Heb 12:1-14
Luke 18:9-14
Ash Wednesday
LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: : The Church teaches on this day about the call to change, metanoia so the readings for Ash Wednesday call us to consider some significant change which we understand as the three pillars of the season of Lent: prayer, fasting & almsgiving (acts of charity). We consider these changes in our daily life patterns because they help us focus on a pivotal life and faith question, namely whether we are living the values of the gospel and the fullness of the faith once delivered to the saints. This question comes into clear focus when we are reminded in the Ash Wednesday Liturgy, “Dust thou art and unto dust thou shall return”. For such a return to the Lord, changes need to be made so, we enter this day and this season.
As we begin this holy season of Lent in preparation for Easter, we must remember the significance of the ashes we have received: We mourn and do penance for our sins. We again convert our hearts to the Lord, who suffered, died, and rose for our salvation. We renew the promises made at our baptism, when we died to an old life and rose to a new life with Christ. Finally, mindful that the kingdom of this world passes away, we strive to live the kingdom of God now and look forward to its fulfillment in heaven.
 So today we consider
1.       Prayer – This Lent try to spend a little more conscious time with God each day,
2.       Fasting doesn’t have to be from food & drink, it could be from an activity that takes you away from your family.
3.       Almsgiving or acts of charity can be something global or something local.
MEDITATION OF THE DAY: In the first lesson of the liturgy for today, the Prophet Joel exhorts the Jews to sorrow and penance for their sins that they evade the expected judgment to be sent by God upon the city of Jerusalem. He required of them to show their repentance not merely by rending their garments, a sign of mourning with the Jews, but by a truly contrite heart. The Church wishes us to see plainly from this lesson of the prophet what qualities our penance should possess, if we desire reconciliation with God, forgiveness of our sins, and deliverance at the Last Day, which qualities are not merely abstinence from food and amusements, but the practice of real mortification of our evil inclinations, thus becoming with our whole heart converted to God.
PRAYER OF THE DAY: O Lord and Master of my life, keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement, lust of power and idle chatter. Instead, grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humble-mindedness, patience, and love. O Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my sins and not to judge my brother; for You are blessed now and ever and forever.  Amen (St. Ephraim the Syriac-373)
ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE:  “The cross, with which the ashes are traced upon us, is the sign of Christ's victory over death. The words "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return" are not to be taken as the quasi-form of a kind of "sacrament of death" (as if such a thing were possible). It might be good stoicism to receive a mere reminder of our condemnation to die, but it is not Christianity
.",– Thomas Merton, from A Lent Sourcebook P. Mazar, R. Baker, E. Kaehle
 Lenten Discipline –   Be sure to take a Mite Box. Mite boxes are one of the many wonderful traditions of Lent. They engage us in the values of compassion and charity through the daily act of praying and giving; and the funds collected help the most vulnerable in our communities, church and world..

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