Every year people struggle with this: It's Ash Wednesday, so we fast and put ashes on our foreheads. But the Gospel instructs us to keep our fasting a secret. Some people feel sheepish. Some feel hypocritical. What's going on — how are we supposed to approach the first day of Lent?
By Jennifer Brinker | firstname.lastname@example.org | twitter: @jenniferbrinker
As Pope Francis described in his 2017 Lenten message, "Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ's victory over death.
"This season urgently calls us to conversion," he wrote. "Christians are asked to return to God 'with all their hearts' (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord."
As we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 1, how do we prepare our hearts for conversion and the path to Easter? Turning toward prayer, through the Scriptures, is one solid suggestion.
Those were the words Pope Francis used during a general audience last month at the Vatican. He described how the forgiveness experienced from visiting the confessional brings freedom and lightness.
During the season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5, the Archdiocese of St. Louis is joining the U.S. bishops' campaign, "The Light is ON for You," to provide several opportunities for Catholics here to receive the sacrament of penance during Lent.