Ash Wednesday addresses the heart. Ashes are sprinkled on our heads, but Lent is lived in the heart. God wants pierced hearts. God looks for the broken heart. “Even now,” says the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments” (Jl 2:12-13).
We tend to make Lent too complicated when, in reality, it calls us to do only three things: pray, fast, and give alms. Simply put, Lent is a time to renew our baptismal commitment to be a disciple of Jesus, especially during this Year of Faith. This commitment is nurtured by the practice of these three disciplines:
To pray – let’s just make the effort to put all our attention and focus on one of our daily prayers. No need to add extra things.
To fast – We don’t need to fast from food. Just choose a small thing in your life that you need to fast from: impatience … curiosity … unkind words … quick responses … whatever the Spirit inspires…
To give alms – the best we can give is some of our time to cheer up an elderly relative or friend. It takes renouncement and determination on our part, but it is something within the reach of all of us.
Let us continue to see the Face of Christ in all the liturgical feasts and seasons, and may His Mercy shine out in our hearts!