Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday, Our Pilgrimage begins

As we begin this holy season of Lent, we should remember that we are preparing to once again give ourselves to God by renewing our baptismal promises during the Sacred Triduum. The Catechism of the Catholic Church helps us remember why it is necessary for us, as baptized Catholics to continue to strive for conversion of heart, to continue to root out sin from our daily lives and through the grace of God to attain the gift of new life. This call to conversion is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first. Read # 1428-1433 of the Catechism for a beautiful explanation of conversion and penance.

At the heart of conversion lies freedom. Our understanding of freedom often conflicts with the true definition found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (#1730 -1748). Freedom denotes responsibility. Freedom means that my will and desires are aligned with God. That in creating me free, God willed that I might of my own accord seek Him and attain to perfection by cleaving to Him. Freedom denotes a service to what is goodness and truth, that ultimate Truth found in the Word of God. To abuse freedom is to choose evil over good, and this leads to slavery, the slavery of sin.

It is precisely attachment to sin that we must strive to root out during this holy season. Beginning today with a reminder that we are dust and unto dust we shall return, let us accept those ashes on our forehead as a sign of our remembrance that we are striving to live for the next life, and of our willingness to embrace a spirit of sacrifice and penance for purification in this life, so that we will be united to Our Lord eternally in the kingdom He has prepared for us!

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