Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent – a time of renewal and recommitment. On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of our own mortality as we receive ashes on our foreheads with the words, “Remember you are dust and unto dust you will return. Repent and believe the good news.” The symbolism of the ashes invites us into a relationship with our own mortality, which need not be morbid or frightening but liberating and renewing. Our mindfulness of death – our memento mori – can help us to take stock of our values, to recommit to what is most important in our lives, and to return to our spiritual practice with a sense of renewal.
Throughout the Lenten season, we imitate Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert by entering a process of purification. While this may sound scary or difficult, Lent is ultimately a season of joy. With the support of community, we can let go of those things that hinder our sense of joy and connection and commit ourselves to practices that are life-giving. In this way, you may commit to giving up excessive habits or start more life-giving ones. We might limit our screen time or dedicate ourselves more fully to the practice of meditation. Perhaps we commit ourselves to some form of service. Whatever our Lenten observance, we do so in joyful preparation for the coming of Easter.
We suggest that you come prepared with a little bit of ash by burning a few twigs or some paper. You will then be able to apply this to yourself or share the giving of the ashes with whoever is with you.
Fr Laurence sends a Daily Lent Reflection which you can sign up for here
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