An Ash Wednesday Reflection
Through the wisdom of the Church we have been given 40 days during our liturgical calendar to open our hearts and our souls to the resurrection of our Lord. These 40 days of Lent are modeled after Christ’s respite in the desert (Matthew 4). We prepare by praying more, fasting, confessing, serving and giving to others (almsgiving).
When my family and I were living in Haiti, I found it easier to live a Christian life. We never needed anything. Of course, my children wanted this and that; but, in reality, all we needed was each other and the other basics that our Louverture Cleary School community provided, like friendship, shelter and food. We would walk out the front door and see a need, improvise a solution, and fill the need to the best of our capabilities.
I prayed all of the time—sometimes with great verbal exasperation: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I need you. Where are you?”
Scalabrini Fathers Joseph and Isaiah were my confessors and only a car ride away at a local seminary. We fasted quite often, mostly out of necessity because groceries are expensive and there’s not much variety. And with all of the many distractions out of the way, we could focus on Christ in others. God put His daily objectives for each of us right before our eyes. Our Christian duty was clear.
The irony of Lent is that we need to create Heaven here on earth while living in a “Son-lit” desert. Awake, O Sleeper, and Christ will give you light-direction (Ephesians 5:14). We are set apart (Matthew 5:13) and meant to spread His fragrance in this world (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are created to be His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Nothing of this world can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38); but it is time to come back to Him with all our hearts (Hosea 14:1, Joel 2:12) and share ourselves with Him.
This Lent, take some time to accompany Christ in the desert and experience its rejuvenation. Remember…we are created to be in the world but not of it (John 17:14).