S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ashes of Repentance and Faith

Tomorrow, we Catholics worldwide will celebrate Ash Wednesday, the start of our Lenten Season. How can we best describe the richness of this celebration?

I remember a phrase often quoted: "The externals reflect the interior." And I believe that this speaks well of our Ash Wednesday observance. Tomorrow, we will go to our parishes, participate in the Liturgy, and will mark ourselves with the Ashes which we will bless in the said liturgy. But the ashes on our foreheads speak so vividly of our desire, perhaps the grace that we are begging for this Lenten Season: To turn away from sin and to have faith in the Gospel. We Catholics through the ages love and treasure rituals and symbols, and for tomorrow, the ashes on our foreheads will symbolize our desire to renew and be renewed. Tomorrow's liturgy will somehow "ritualize", as it were, our longing to truly leave the life of sin behind and to embrace the newness of life that Jesus offers all of us. We long for new life deep in our hearts; the ashes act as "marks" of this desire.

We pray then that as we mark ourselves with the ashes tomorrow, we may put to heart the prayer that the Minister will utter as he imposes the ashes on us: That we may truly turn away from sin, and be renewed in our faith in the Gospel. Amen.


  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger Keith said…

    Father, I have enjoyed reading from your blog. I have a friend far away, reminded me she wass going to church for ash wednesday mass... I am gratefuol to have read your post. It has been a whole since I last came to your country. It has been a long time since I visited Mass. Maybe I need to find my home again... Salamat. Keep writing.


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