Today is the first day of Lent and it is also one of the few days of fast and abstinence left in the Church year. It is also the day we go to Mass and receive our ashes.
For me, the receiving of ashes on Ash Wednesday is one of the great symbolic events in our spiritual life. The ashes are meant to remind us that we are made of dust and that we are going to die at some point in the future. They also signify repentance as in the old days penitents wore ‘sack cloth and ashes.’
Sin and an abhorrence of sin is something we have lost sight of in modern times. We are almost led to believe by some teachers that God will forgive anything. I don’t know what way God looks at our sins and I cannot say what punishment a particular sin shall receive. But I do know that if I have a love of someone I shall not want to offend them.
Would you want to go out and deliberately hurt and offend you husband/wife/child?
Of course you would not. By the same token if we love God we shall not want to offend him. Ask Wednesday is the start of Lent, a time when we are called to reflect on what our relationship with God means to us, what we are doing in our lives that offends him and how we can change.
Any day that calls me to greater depth in my relationship with God must be a good day. That is why we should take it seriously and go to receive ashes and attend Mass. If we sincerely look at what Lent is about and follow the readings of the Church over the next few weeks, in a spirit of reflection and repentance, we shall certainly see a change in our lives.
If we honour God he shall honour us.