Each year during Lent we are reminded that "goodness, together with love, justice and solidarity, are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day... In this season of conversion, sustained by God’s grace and by the communion of the Church, let us not grow tired of doing good. The soil is prepared by fasting, watered by prayer and enriched by charity. From Pope Francis Message for Lent 2022.
Coming back, returning, to God is the challenge of Lent. This is not an external journey, but something of the heart. The prophet Joel, in the time after the exile to Babylon, describes the God who awaits our return with words given to Moses in Exodus 34:6. God is rich in ‘faithful love’, hesed, and ‘slow to anger’.
Responsorial Psalm 51: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
2 Cor 5:1-6, 16-18
Paul and his fellow-workers are ambassadors speaking for Christ, delivering God’s appeal for ‘reconciliation’.
Matt 6:1-6, 16-17
The hypocrite wears a mask of righteousness while his heart is far away; he prefers the praise of the world, but true righteousness is done in secret.
Wednesday 2 Feb - A Global day of Fasting for Peace
Pope Francis has called for Ash Wednesday to be a global day of fasting for peace in the Ukraine. He appealed to believers and non-believers alike. He said: “Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God's weapons, with prayer and fasting... I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day.”
Read more HERE
Information for services on Ash Wednesday
Because we are still in the time of the pandemic there are guidelines for both the priest and people to observe with the distribution of ashes. Last year the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published this advisory:
Note on Ash Wednesday: Distribution of Ashes in Time of Pandemic.
The priest says the prayer for blessing the ashes. He sprinkles the ashes with holy water, without saying anything. Then he addresses all those present and only once says the formula as it appears in the Roman Missal, applying it to all in general: "Repent and believe in the Gospel", or "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." The priest then cleanses his hands, and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one without saying anything."
Check your diocesan website for further guidance on ways to make Ash Wednesday liturgies as contactless as possible.
Message from Pope Francis for LENT 2022 HERE
Pray as you go HERE
Loyola Press - Arts and faith HERE
“Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest,
if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity,
let us do good to all” (Gal 6:9-10)