Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday

Remember that you are dust
and unto dust you shall return.

"The Church is our Mother...she tells us that the whole life of a Christian should be a life of penance.  And because so unwelcome a truth needs to be pressed home, she brings all her children under the discipline of penance....

"The Church knows that we must one and all do penance.  She has her Master's word for it:  'Unless you do penance you shall all perish.'  She knows, too, that were a season for doing penance left to our choice, we should never do it.  Were any month in the twelve optional, we should put off till the last weeks of the year, and then find ourselves unavoidably hindered.  

"She comes, therefore, to our help, and appoints as her principal season of penance, six weeks in the spring, in memory of our Lord's fast of forty days, in union with His bitter Passion and Death which she commemorates at this time, and to prepare by prayer, fasting, and alms-deeds -- the three eminent good works -- for the celebration of His Resurrection at Easter....

All this means a call to effort and self-sacrifice.  We must not, we will not hang back.  "Now is the acceptable time, now are the days of salvation."  Who knows whether another Lent will be granted us?  Scripture speaks of the time of death as one when all men will wish to have done penance.  Why prepare fruitless regrets for that awful time!  God is willing -- more than willing -- is most desirous to give us now all the grace we need.  Let us win from Him by fervent prayer the special blessing that belongs to a fervent Lent."

~Mother Mary Loyola, With the Church, Vol. 1: Advent to Ascension
Thank you, dear Jesus, for our Mother the Church!  Thank you for this blessed time of penance that she so wisely and lovingly imposes upon us.  Help us to live this Lenten season in such a way that one day it may be said of us, 'You also were with Jesus the Galilean' (Matthew 26:69).  Amen!

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