Ash Wednesday

A time of grace

‘But now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning.’ Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn, turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion.”  – Joel 2:12-13

The season of Lent is a time of grace given to us by God in order to live in a more deliberate and conscious manner that element of Christian life which we call change of heart.

It is a time for special effort, of preparation for the celebration of the great feast of Easter, the Resurrection of the Lord. The grace we shall receive on that day is related to the kind of preparation we make to celebrate it. In this reading, emphasis is put on the return to God.

This is an emphasis of what must always be part of our Christian life, which is a constant change of heart – away from those things that separate us from God, towards those things which unite us to him. Therefore in this period of concentration which we call Lent, part of our resolution must be to increase our life of prayer.

If we do this, then we can be certain that God will speak to us, and guide us, and make increasingly clear to us what it may be in our lives which prevents our having a union with him, which is what he wants, and what, deep down, we want.

Father, help me to turn to you this Lent.

We pray for all those who come to the Centre – that they will have the strength and support
to turn their lives around.

Reflection by Cardinal Basil Hume OSB – originally in ‘A Turning to God’, edited by Patricia Hardcastle Kelly (DLT 2007), used with permission