On Ash Wednesday, we, in our Catholic tradition, were marked with ashes on our forehead and told to repent and believe in the gospel. Earlier wording told us to remember that we are dust and to dust we will return. No matter the wording, Lent is a season for growth, for repentance, for reconciliation and sacrifice, for giving up those things that do not lead us more deeply into the heart of God.
When I was a child, I would give up candy for Lent. As an adult, what am I called to give up? Negative thinking. Judging. Criticism. I need to fast from so many words. I am not implying that we should be unfriendly.
When I was younger, we also had to abide by some rather strict fasting laws. For reasons of age and health, I am no longer required to fast from food.
Fasting often leads to feasting. What do I feast on? More time in prayer, in reading scripture and other spiritual books, in helping those around me, in being attentive to the needs of others and responding to them. In welcoming someone I don’t particularly like to join me at the table, to meet for a mid-morning cup of coffee, to be a part of our prayer group.
Yes, if I stay alert with a great and longing heart as our founder, Saint Angela Merici, tells us there will always be ways to repent and believe in the gospel and to walk more deeply into the heart of God.
By: Sister Marietta Wethington