Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. It is a day of obligatory fasting and abstinence, preparing us for our 40-day Lenten journey in communion with Christ in this season of love, mercy, and forgiveness.
This year’s Ash Wednesday is on March 2, 2022. As Catholics, we participate in the Holy Mass and receive ashes on our forehead. In receiving the ashes, we are reminded that from dust we are made and to dust, we shall return (Gen 3:19).We acknowledge our sinfulness by allowing the priest to lay the ashes upon us. We are called to turn away from sin, repent and be faithful to the Gospel.Putting the dirt on our forehead with a cross sign is a symbol of Christ’s promise that He can wash out the dirt deep inside our hearts and our minds. Some parishes may not be able to conduct public masses due to the covid 19 pandemic but families could participate in the online mass.
As we enter the season of Lent, we are called to engage in practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Personally, whenever Lent begins, feelings of guilt and doubt, and emptiness come to me. I ask myself if I have become a good Christian through the years? Have I become a better person in the past year? In feelings of unworthiness, I encounter the temptation to skip praying or not to go to confession. But at the end of the day, God is telling me that my feeling of guilt is nothing compared to the love He has given to me. He blesses me with so many things in my life. Perhaps this is precisely why God is inviting me to take part in the 40-days of Lent every year to reflect and meditate. God asks me on this holy journey to have a renewed relationship with him through my prayers and my actions.
There are moments when we think we can no longer escape our sins. Sometimes we are blinded by earthly things but it doesn't mean we can't change or we can’t ask God for forgiveness. He is our victor and by His grace, we are redeemed and forgiven. I believe that humbling ourselves before him in the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist is our path to holiness. The 40-day journey of Jesus into the desert reminds us that no temptation can lead us to sin if we only entrust ourselves to Him and worship Him every day of our lives. Let us make this Lenten journey and beyond holy for God because His love and mercy endure forever. He is always good and faithful. God bless us always.