Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It occurs 46 days before Easter and is observed by many Western Christians, not just Roman Catholics. This time of preparation for the Resurrection of Jesus is spent in prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving. Lent is a time which mirrors Jesus’ 40 days fasting in the desert where He was tempted by the devil. During Lent, we fast only 40 days since Sunday’s are excluded because they commemorate the Resurrection of Christ which is a feast.
We go to church on Ash Wednesday to have blessed ashes placed on our foreheads in the form of a cross. As the priest places the ashes on us he says the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Ash Wednesday is only ten days away. Are you prepared for Lent?
During Lent, we ramp up our prayer, sacrifice, and good works. We give up favorite foods, eating chocolate, volunteer at a soup kitchen, pray outside an abortion clinic. These are all very admiral and worthwhile activities. We even reap the rewards of becoming healthier because of some of these sacrifices.
But, what do we do to prepare ourselves for Lent?
Before we enter into this Lenten season, let us meditate on the how we will observe this season of penance and prayer. We must open our hearts to become God’s instruments of love. Without opening our hearts to the love of God, we cannot be who He has created us to be. Coming up with what we will do to celebrate Lent is the easy part. But we don’t accomplish anything if we just do something for the sake of doing it.
Spending quiet time with our Lord prior to Lent can give us a much-needed perspective. What does my soul need? What can I change about my life? How can I gain the graces of the Lenten season? Listening to the answers God gives us will help us know not only what we should do for lent, but how we should be doing them.
For me prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed toward heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy”
St. Therese of Lisieux
It is not necessary to do heroic acts for Lent. St. Therese has taught us her Little Way. We can do many, many small things which done in love are a beautiful prayer.
Planning ensures that we will have a successful Lenten season which will prepare us to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.