PS 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17
OF GOD – I place myself in your presence, O Lord, shine your
light on the eternal truths and awaken in me a sincere desire for
Even now, says the LORD, return to
me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your
God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in
kindness, and relenting in punishment. Jl 2:12-18
A clean heart create in me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Ps 51: 12
George Weigel once wrote in an
article about the signs in the London Underground station that say
“Mind the Gap, cautioning passengers against stepping between the
train and the platform. It’s also a pithy but accurate description,
Mr. Weigel says, of the drama of the Christian life. For we all
live, daily, in the “gap” between the person I am and the person I
was called to be at baptism.” Lent is the time each year when
we pay particular attention in our spiritual lives as we mind that
The readings today all invite us to
the practice of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. The Spiritual
Journey can be seen as a three-step process. Finding the
center, purgation, and mission. Finding the center, simply put is
allowing Christ to be the center of your being. This is accomplished
with a deep prayer life. Purgation is a process of getting rid
of sinful tendencies and habits and replacing them with Christian
virtues, thus making one ready to do God’s will, e.g., mission.
It is no longer I (the old man), but Christ who lives in me.
(Gal 2:20). This process is mirrored in the three-fold
practices of Lent of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.
Spend some time in silent mediation
with the Readings today. Reflect on the ‘gap’ in your spiritual
life. What are the areas in your life that the readings seem to
be pointing that are in need of attention so that you might be drawn
into a deeper relationship with the Lord? In what specific ways
might the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving help you in
closing that ‘gap’ in your spiritual life?
Ash Wednesday is an obligatory
day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics.
For members of the Latin Catholic
Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59.
When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as
two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The
norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the
Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
Oh Lord! I look upon the person that
I am and weep and my inadequacies. The gap between who I am and
who you want me to be is so wide, so deep it is impossible to cross.
But as I cry out for mercy, I see you in that gap, arms spread
wide on the cross that bridges that gap. Help me to walk the
way of the cross so that I might do Your will in all things.