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Ash Wednesday 2018

Going Beyond Giving Up Chocolate: Going Deeper in Lent

Ash Wednesday, 2018

Reflection based on:
Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

As a little girl, I can remember that one of my first questions before Lent was, "What are you giving up for Lent?" Giving something up for those 40 days helped me to enter into the season with a sense of purpose and a greater awareness.  Now, as an adult I find myself looking at the Lenten journey in a deeper way through Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.

Lent isn't simply about "giving up" something (fasting).  The real grace is when I recognize that Lent is a season when God wants to "give me" something.  God wants to help me transform my life and make me more free as a person...by giving me the strength and courage to break down my barriers to be freer with Him, he enables me to live my life and love my family, friends, and neighbors (almsgiving).

Discovering that barrier in my life is critical.  If I know what the barrier is, these weeks of Lent are a great time to reflect upon it.  I might realize as I continue to reflect, that changing a particular way I live is coming to me as a call from God and I do not have to do it alone.

I need help.  It may be something that I do not want to change or acknowledge, perhaps I do not think I can change it.  But that's where talking to God can make the difference (prayer).  I am not doing this alone;  I am doing it with God.  So, when I identify the barrier, I have made a breakthrough.  That's when Jesus can begin the healing process.

Father, how can I make this Lent a time to hear the cry of the poor?
May my heart be freed and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.