Far from morbid, this is an invitation to realism, to truth, to remembering who we are, from where we have come, where we are going, to whom we belong.
T. S. Eliot wrote: What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
Ash Wednesday can mark “the end” of living carelessly, of coasting along, of not paying much attention to ultimate reality.
Ash Wednesday can point us to “the end” for which God created us: eternal communion with God, eternal fulfillment, eternal joy.
Ash Wednesday can be “a beginning” of more deliberate living, living with purpose, living with hope, living in the Spirit of Christ.
We begin by looking forward…forward, to where we are going, with God’s help.
And how shall we arrive there?
By praying…weekday Mass & Communion, Reconciliation, holy hours & holy half-hours of adoration, Lenten Evening Prayer, the Way of the Cross, Scripture reading, daily prayer in our homes, moments of silence & reflection, examining our conscience, reviewing our day, noticing moments close to Christ.
By fasting…Ash Wednesday & Good Friday days of fasting (one full meal), abstinence from eating meat on Fridays, refraining from gossip, refraining from unnecessary luxuries (like entertainments, shopping, alcohol, desserts, soft drinks, & by replacing these things with reading, visiting the sick, works of mercy, exercise, milk & water).
By almsgiving…contributing to special collections during Lent & on Easter, giving to charitable causes that are personally important, donating to our sister-parish in Haiti.
By study, alone or with others…Thursday evening RENEW groups, Friday morning 30-minute Bible study, Thursday morning Father Barron’s New Evangelization series DVDs, spiritual reading at home.
Finally, a prayer for these 40 days:
Life-giving, merciful God,
you called us forth from the dust of the earth;
you claimed us for Christ in the waters of baptism.
Look upon us during these forty days, as we bear the mark of ashes.
Bless our journey through the desert of Lent to the font of rebirth.
May our fasting be hunger for justice.
May our almsgiving be a making of peace.
May our praying be the chant of humble and grateful hearts.
All that we do and pray is in the name of Jesus,
for in his cross you proclaim your love, forever and ever. Amen.
KCSS - St. Lawrence Center
Diocese of Sioux City
Carroll Iowa Chamber of Commerce
St. Lawrence Church 1607 N. West St. Carroll, IA 51401 712-792-9244 712-792-9245 fax