Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

ashwed May the peace of Christ Reign in our hearts.

My Mom is 85 years old and she sends me an email every night.

She checks her bank account on line to see if her Social Security check is deposited.

I believe that she has lived to 85 because she is always willing to try something new always willing to adapt.

She can’t climb on a ladder so she changes her curtains with a pole she made out of a broomstick

The pipe was broken outside and the ice was freezing on the driveway… I noticed it is now wrapped in aluminum foil and is no longer leaking.

She can’t shovel snow anymore so she floods the neighborhood with coffee cakes all year round and people happily show blow her sidewalk.

When she comes to a problem or a challenge she adapts.. It keeps her young and it keeps her spry

When she gets confused on her computer she x’s out as she says, closing the little x box in the window until she is where she wants to be.

When that doesn’t work she resets the computer by holding the power button in and when that doesn’t work

she simply gets on her hands and knees and pulls the plug and then plugs it back in again. She’s never afraid to start over and figure things out.

She never gets discouraged. she turns it back on and she keeps going.

Today is Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday calls us to reflect on three things.

The first is simply this..
Our world
our life
and our routine  are simply not all there is to life.

If you thought this was all there was there would be no reason for you to be here.

Why would you be here if you didn’t believe in God or the eternal life God offers us.

Some of you may have doubts but you are here to hedge your bets…. because you are not willing right now to completely give up your faith.

Ash Wednesday reminds us in fact that our life on earth is but a blink of an eye when compared to eternity.

Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

Not only will we turn to dust,

but all we own will turn to dust.

The people we love will turn to dust
and much of what we did during our lives will turn to dust. 

It’s true a few us will live on in the memory of those we love for a couple of generations but after a while our name will only  appear in a baptismal record someplace and not much more.

With all that set it is important to look and prepare for the future, the future beyond out life here on earth.

It is so important to understand and reflect on the fact that

Our future  will either some day end up in a perpetual loving union with God or eternal loneliness.

Said more starkly we will either be in  Heaven or Hell. There are no other options.

The second thing that Ash Wednesday  and actually all of lent calls us to do is to examine our lives,
How are we living and how do we need to change.

We have to learn to adapt as you will just like my Mom does.

Sometimes we just have to x out of our current choices,
Sometimes we have to hit the reset button or even crawl under the computer desk and pull the plug and start over.

I’ve often reflected on why so many people come to Ash Wednesday.

On Ash Wednesday our chapels are always full.

We are all here because we  know that there are things  we have to change in our lives.

We are here because we all know we can do better.

We are  here because we just can’t let go of the hope which springs from our inner most being that we too can love more.

Finally the third thing Ash Wednesday calls us to do is to begin to make the changes we know we need to make.

Why fast
Why give up something we like

Because being able to say no to ourselves enables us to better say yes to God and God’s will

Being able deny ourselves good things enables us to and love other people more.

Denying ourselves good things is part of every virtuous life

What kind of Mom or Dad doesn’t have to deny themselves all kinds of things for their children.

Think of how much of a sacrifice many of your parents are making right now to have you come to Catholic and sit in those chairs.

Holy ones at the end of this lent… may our works of self denial and charity bring us closer to each other and bring us closer to God.

May we live thoughtful lives this lent and find the courage, and the strength and the wisdom to hit the reset button and begin anew.

Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.

Repent and believe the good news.


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