Launch into Lent!

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World Day of the Sick, Our Lady of Lourdes


Yesterday’s readings for the Mass for Ash Wednesday contained some really simple but powerful reminders of the purposes of Lent.

To change ourselves from the inside out—The prophet Joel urges us, “Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God.” (See Joel 2:12-18).

To change ourselves from the outside in.—Jesus asks us to be humble in our works of penance: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  We do so in order to not become deluded by our own power and instead trust in God’s power working in and through us. (See Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18).

To use this time well.—St. Paul reminds us that “now is a very acceptable time…now is the day of salvation.”  We can’t let this time of grace and reconciliation go to waste!  (See 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2).

Today as we launch into Lent we also remember in a special way those who are sick, and we pray for God’s healing grace and mercy to be with them:

O God, only support of our human weakness, show the power of your protection over your servants who are sick.  Sustained by your merciful help, let them be restored to your holy Church in good health.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  (Adapted from Roman Missal, Mass for the Sick, Prayer After Communion)—JC