May Yours Be a Blessed Lent
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of 40-day season of Lent. Fasting is one of the three traditional spiritual disciples of Lent, the other two being prayer and alms-giving (giving to the poor).
Someone shared with me the following words of Pope Francis, which appear in the graphic at right. They speak to me. But I’m afraid the graphic may be a little small to make out, so here’s the text:
Do You Want to Fast This Lent?
Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and have trust in God.
Fast from complaints; contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness; fill your hearts with joy.
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words; be silent and listen.
As this Lent begins, we are in a world historical moment.
I am inspired by the courage of the Ukranians. But this is also a most dangerous time for our world and for humanity. We may feel, as we have so often in recent years, overwhelmed.
The Pope’s words remind us that in the midst of the dangers, the inspirations and the many unknowns of this present moment, we can make choices. We can open ourselves to the kind of fast he counsels.
And when we fail in this fast, as we will surely do, we can turn to the cross and know that there is one who understands our every weakness, who brings mercy, and we can begin anew by his grace.
May yours, my friends, be a blessed Lent.