Moving through Lent

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Ash Wednesday often brings my spirit to a halt. In the earliest centuries, Christians who had been immersed in persistent sin had ashes sprinkled on their bodies as a sign of repentance. Around the tenth century, believers began to signify their need for repentance by having ashes placed on their foreheads in the shape of a cross.

Today, many churches have Ash Wednesday worship services where worshippers are encouraged to openly acknowledge frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. The imposition of ashes on our foreheads are symbolic of our confessions.

So as my spirit sits in holy stillness today, I ask myself where I go from here. Where will this Ash Wednesday take me? What willLent’s forty days hold for me this year?

I considered giving up my blog writing for Lent, but that didn’t feel right. There is something about writing every day that is transformative for me. Yet, I have to admit that I sometimes tell myself that my blog of random thoughts is not something that anyone wants to read every day.

I often threaten to quit writing. But every time I do, I have a flood of mildly profound thoughts that beg to be recorded. So I keep writing, and every once in a while, I receive the blessing of hearing from a reader that benefitted from my words. Most of all, I write as a personal discipline, a spiritual discipline that forces me to engage my heart and my soul.

So how will I move through Lent? I will continue to write. I will post a daily Scripture on my Facebook page, hoping that even one Facebook friend might be lifted just for a moment from the activities of a busy life.

Most importantly, I pray that you will experience a holy Ash Wednesday and that your Lenten journey might be a time of spiritual growth and renewed faith. Today, may we symbolically mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross as a reminder of the crucifixion of Jesus. And then let us move through Lent holding tightly to the hope of the resurrection.

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7 thoughts on “Moving through Lent

  1. Aunt Opie – Thank you for introducing me to your blog. Without Facebook (which I gave up for Lent), I’ve found myself at a loss for what to do with myself today. I have talked to God more than usual, but since I’m at work it’s difficult to find the true quiet needed to really connect with Him and give Him the respect and full attention He deserves. In preparation for Ash Wednesday Mass, I decided to study today’s scripture readings ahead of time in the hopes that I would be more in tune with them during the service. I found the Responsorial Psalm brought tears to my eyes and I hope I can hold onto that conviction throughout the season of Lent. I’ll share it here, as I expect it will speak to and abase others as it did me:

    Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17
    R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
    Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
    in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
    Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
    and of my sin cleanse me.
    R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
    For I acknowledge my offense,
    and my sin is before me always:
    β€œAgainst you only have I sinned,
    and done what is evil in your sight.”
    R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
    A clean heart create for me, O God,
    and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
    Cast me not out from your presence,
    and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
    R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
    Give me back the joy of your salvation,
    and a willing spirit sustain in me.
    O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
    R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

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      • I’ve considered it – but I always convince myself that I don’t have enough to say or that the things I have to say are not worth reading. Usually if I’m inspired to share something I just post it on Facebook. Sometimes I write things only to erase them because I fear they sound arrogant or false. I have a tendency to over think and over analyze – I obsess over not repeating myself or finding the “perfect” phraseology. Without fail, I find mistakes in everything I do, no matter how much editing I put into it. I’m sure writing regularly could be cathartic if I could ever get past the initial fear of not being good enough. Guess that’s something I need to work on.

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      • Yes, it’s only therapeutic if you can get a little bit past the obsession with perfection. Often, I hate what I have written, but I ave come to see the writing as a spiritual discipline, so I write it anyway. It’s amazing to learn that what I didn’t like has an impact on someone.

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