This Wednesday we celebrated Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a six week liturgical season leading up to the celebration of Easter. At the end of Lent we celebrate Holy Week, the days leading up to the crucifixion. As Jesus died to redeem us from our sins, it is fitting at the beginning of Lent that we are marked with ashes as a sign of our own repentance and to remind us that we are of this Earth.
We welcomed Father Pat McMullan who celebrated Ash Wednesday mass with us. He suggested that throughout Lent we make a special effort to remember that we are human beings which ties in with being humble and of this Earth. He urged us to make a special effort to look after our Earth.
During the six weeks of Lent leading up to Easter we traditionally make more than our usual effort to pray, fast and give alms.
Prayer has many forms, from the traditional prayers such as the Our Father, to personal prayers e.g. asking God for help in a time of need, or simply an awareness of God’s presence in our lives – which can come from the smile of a child, sunrise over water or any of the other marvels of nature all around us. The Church beckons us in Lent to make a special effort to pray more. More could just mean better – perhaps making a concerted effort to keep one’s mind from wandering during prayer, or attempting to see God more frequently in the world around us.
A common understanding of Lent is we “give something up” – like sugar, or coffee or a similar treat/necessity. It may be more meaningful to give up something which will help others or help make ourselves better people, such as giving up: bickering, judging, criticising, “white lying” or any of the other little traps we can easily fall into.
Means helping the less fortunate. This could be by making a commitment to the parish Caritas Lenten appeal. Or it could be once again remembering to see Jesus in the people around us and making an extra special effort to help our neighbours.