The readings for the day can be found here.
Today we officially enter the Great Season of Lent, 22 February 2012 to 5 April 2012, 40 days of opportunity to pray, fast and to give alms. We skip Sundays when we count the forty days of Lent, because Sundays commemorate the Resurrection. In the Roman Catholic Church, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday, with the beginning of the mass of the Lord’s Supper.
More important than calendar information, though, Lent gives us the dedicated opportunity for personal conversion, through faithful practices…for drawing closer to God and God’s will for us.
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance, a season to reflect and to take stock, to prepare for Easter, to prepare for the rest of our lives as men and women of faith.
We hope–and pray–that you find these daily reflections, written by our University colleagues–students, staff, faculty, and administrators–help for your journey through Lent. As we begin this season with prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we can pray the prayer St. Ignatius gave us, recognizing the Source of all we have, all that is good.
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.
Let’s continue to pray for ourselves and for each other.
God bless… Fr. P. Stark, SJ Vice President for Mission and Ministry
Ash Wednesday calls us into the urgency the disciples have experienced the past few weeks, and instructs us how we need to prepare, how we need to behave, how we need to respond to each other, to God. The readings today and throughout Lent instruct us first about our gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and then about ourselves and what we need.
Today’s readings plead for some of that mercy for ourselves, as we begin to realize we are, in fact, sinners, and that God, in fact, can cleanse and heal and forgive us.
Our readings today give us a noble standard to carry, a noble goal to which we can aspire, a noble calling in our faith: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We can be lifted up from ourselves, become more than ourselves, and raised to God…working together with God, working with our faith, practicing the faith we profess…
Our Scriptures today offer words to live by–certainly for Lent, but really for ever. We learn that there is some urgency to what we do and how we do it–indeed, In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
As we enter more completely into Lent, we can experience the intensity, the urgency, the necessity to do what we do completely. What we do now helps us return and conform to God, Joel tells us.
Today we learn how to pray and how not to pray…how to perform righteous deeds, and to give alms, and to fast–three cardinal priorities of Lent All of these things to do, these practices, of course, direct us to one truth: Lent is not about me, and not about you.
Let’s repeat that: Lent. Is. Not. About. Me. Lent is about God in our lives, and what we do to help or to block that presence and influence of God in our lives.
What we do as worship or reparation or preparation during Lent is between me and God… And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Today, as we begin Lent, Jesus teaches us how to pray…we can listen and learn.