A reflection for Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday Readings:
First Reading – Joel 2:12-18
Second Reading – 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Gospel – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
This year, as we begin this holy season of Lent, these very familiar readings take on a deeper, clearer meaning for me. In the Gospel, Jesus instructs the disciples (us) how to fast, how to give alms, and how to pray. These actions will bring us closer to following God’s instructions to Joel in the first reading, “return to me with your whole heart,” if we but listen.
But, how do I give? Do I give joyfully, with a pure heart? Do I expect something in return, praise, recognition? And how do I pray? Where is my “inner room?” Who hears me? For what, whom do I pray? And from what do I fast? Food? Pleasure? Or do I fast from hurtful thoughts and feelings, anger, resentment, envy?
St. Paul tells us to be “Ambassadors for Christ; be reconciled to God.” In order to return to God with a whole heart, we need the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit which dwells within each of us. But, sometimes, frankly often, we need each other to become aware of that Spirit, to acknowledge how and where we need to transform our lives to come into right relationships with God and each other. Today is a good day to ponder, reflect, dwell on thoughts and feelings of how we can each transform our own hearts.
Perhaps this Lenten Season you will chose on action for deep reflection and transformation. Although I participate in a faith sharing group, read, reflect and sometimes journal, it is very difficult for me to follow the advice of my Providence Associate companion, “be still” and listen to God, but I have found my “inner room” to block out distractions and my own thoughts which get in the way.
I often find a sense of revelation while vacuuming and on my yoga mat. Breathing in the Spirit of Life and Love on the yoga mat brings me a sense of gratitude and peace. And, I’m often surprised by the thoughts revealed to me as I hear the whir of the vacuum cleaner!
Where will you discover your inner room that leads to transformation?