RB: Ch 29 The Readmission of Any Who Leave the Monastery
Mass: Joel 2:12-18; Resp Ps 51; 2 Co 5:20-6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Welcome to Ash Wednesday.
First, with nostalgia, I recall the days of my youth when today's Gospel was proclaimed on Ash Wednesday. Those were the days when I played Mass in my room. I was the altar boy. Jesus' words to His disciples made me stand up straighter. They continue to have the same effect.
Second, I encourage the reading of Ch 49 of the Holy Rule of St Benedict, 'The Observance of Lent'. What follows are verses five through seven: 'During these days we will add to the usual measure of our service something by way of private prayer and abstinence from food and drink, so that each of us will have something above the assigned measure to offer God of His own will with the joy of the Holy Spirit (1 Th 1:6). In other words, let each one deny herself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing.'
Third, I pass along something sent to me by Archbishop Arthur Roche:
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ indwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on nonviolence.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting,
gift us with your presence, so we can be a gift to others in carrying out your work.
And last, the following are two 'Suggested Prayer of the Faithful' from Magnificat, Ash Wednesday, 2019:
That God will repair all the broken relationships in our life and make us merciful, gentle, and forgiving.
That God will rescue all those who live at a distance from Him or who have left the practice of the Faith.
NB. Today's photo is the image Figure of Christ. The original is of bronze, from Central France, 12th century.