Tag Archives: Lent

Humble and Contrite Hearts

Lord, as we begin our Lenten journey with you,
we recall what you desire: a humble and contrite heart.

You don’t desire our bank accounts;
you don’t quantify our popularity;
you don’t hope for our job titles;
you don’t seek out our righteous ideologies;
you don’t long to see how pretty or handsome we are.

You desire only where our hearts are; and the rest will follow.

And you do not desire a perfect heart, but a heart broken and wounded.
A heart of hope and a heart of sorrow.
Give us these hearts, O God.
Give us hearts that are unafraid.
Give us hearts that lead us where others fear to go.
Give us hearts that listen humbly and burn with a passion for justice.
Give us humble and contrite hearts.

Repent!

Ash Wednesday

12:00pm- Ash Wednesday Mass in Annunciation chapel
7:00pm- Ash Wednesday prayer service with distribution of ashes in Maria Hall Chapel

Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent.  The ashes we wear on our heads today remind us of our need to repent and turn to God.  They also remind us of our death.

If Easter is such a joyful time for Christians, why begin our season of preparation with such a somber symbol?  It is because we are not afraid.    It is because we recognize that we make mistakes and that we will die someday.  Far from dwelling on this negatively, when we pray for forgiveness today and receive ashes on our foreheads, we look our shortcomings in the eye and take our mortality by the hand.  We acknowledge our sinfulness and look to our death, not so that they remain in the shadows of gloom and guilt, but so that they can be brought into the light of a loving God, who gives life to the world.

Today we repent and turn to God.  Let us do so, and enter the season of Lent unafraid!

Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras?

Have you ever heard of Shrove Tuesday?  It’s more likely that you’ve heard of Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”).  Shrove means “to have obtained absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and doing penance” and comes from a tradition of penitential preparation for Lent.  Mardi Gras, on the other hand, comes from a tradition of celebratory preparation as a last chance to have high spirits before the somber season of Lent.

The two names seem to imply polar opposites: going to confession vs. having a party.  But both names describe an appropriate disposition for Lenten preparation.  After all, Lent is a time to turn toward God.  This can be a somber task, because it involves leaving some of our attachments behind, but it is also a task of great joy, because it means turning toward new life with God.

So as we enter the season of Lent, let us remember to bring together both our sorrows and our joys in fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.  Don’t let your sorrows cast shadow on your joys, and don’t let your joys erase the deep discoveries of your sorrows.  Rejoice!  Our God is a God of joys and sorrows.