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Walking with Christ through Lent: An Ash Wednesday Reflection

Walking with Christ through Lent: An Ash Wednesday Reflection

Every year, it seems surprising to find that Lent has followed so closely upon the heels of Christmas. Indeed, many of us may not feel ready to turn our hearts and minds to the penitential season after the joys of celebrating the Savior’s birth. But just as we spent Advent preparing our hearts for Jesus’ coming, the Church in her wisdom gives us a lengthy season in which to prepare for His Death and Resurrection.
Lent Ash Wednesday Reflection

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). This is the time to make ourselves ready to reflect on Our Lord’s sacrifice, not only through penance and self-denial, but through a sincere examination of ourselves and our relationship with God.


On Ash Wednesday, we begin this holy time, we enter into this season of preparation. The ashes that are part of the day’s liturgy invite us to reflect on our origin: then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). Despite being the pinnacle of God’s creation and the culmination of His six days of labor, still we know that our bodies come from humble dirt and will eventually become dirt once more. Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. We are forced to reflect on a great mystery of our humanity, that each of us is born into this life on earth, but one day we will die.
 

But death is not the end. Man is not simply a body, he has an eternal soul as well. Reflecting on our earthly mortality leads us to further our relationship with the Lord, knowing that He promises life beyond death, eternal life beyond our wildest hopes here on earth. We know that at the end of these 40 days of penance and sacrifice, Christ conquers the grave. But first, we must walk with Him to face death, becoming like Simon and shouldering the Cross. This Lent, may we take on that burden wholeheartedly.

Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, 
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God.
(Joel 2:12-13)