I think that the seasons of Lent and Easter are my favorites. They carry great power and meaning. Lent prepares us for the greatest mystery of the Church and its most profound events. The Passion of our Lord manifested within the context of Holy Week is a special time, extraordinary time, a time when the world stood still and when the world was immeasurably and irrevocably changed. But I am jumping ahead. This week, we experience the opening scene of Ash Wednesday that in and of itself should set our minds whirling. We declare that we are dust, we are reminded of our mortality, and we come face to face with the meaning of our death. If we truly let that settle into our psyche, it calls for an examination of our lives. What am I doing with my life? Where are my commitments taking me? How am I spending my time and energy?
The dark mark placed on our foreheads serves as a sign that we are marked as a people. We have a calling beyond ourselves. We know who we are and what we stand for. We are men and women of Christ. Our lives are not ours but are His. As we have these several weeks to prepare for the Easter days ahead, let us make sacrifices, take ourselves out of the ordinary, and open a space within our lives in a new way for Christ. Let us open ourselves to God with a new devotion, a new habit, a new prayer, a new energy. Let this time be one of renewal. Let us take hold of ourselves and focus our time in cleansing preparation so that we may walk fully with Christ during his last days. He gives us the gift of salvation. Let us be ready to fully know this gift in our souls.