Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of our 40 day Lenten preparation and celebration of the culmination of the greatest event that ever took place on the face of the Earth, the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we received the ashes on our head, the words, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” reverberate throughout the Lenten Season. The word “Repent” comes from the Greek word, “Metanoia” which denotes a change in one’s way of thinking or acting. These words are to remind us to honestly look into our lives to see what we need to change in order to conform our lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Social scientists say that it takes 28 days to change or form a habit. Lent asks us to change more than just a habit, we are invited to change our priorities and the focus of our lives and perhaps that is why Lent takes a full 40 days. Imagine, if we were to form one good habit (virtue) a year and to rid ourselves of one bad habit (vice) a year, we would most likely be saints at the end of our lives. May “Metanoia” be our mantra this Lent.
Jesus gives us three tools to help us with our Lenten “Metanoia” – Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving and in order for us not to fall into the category of “hypocrites” Jesus wants us to follow his example practicing all three together:
- Fasting helps us control our self-centered desires to become God-centered.
- Prayer helps us to come to know God and to live out God’s desires.
- Almsgiving or serving others in need, makes sure that our love for God overflows into love for neighbor.
Throughout the Lenten Season, be sure to check the parish bulletin and website for the many spiritual encounters we are offering – our Parish Mission, Stations of the Cross, Adoration, Confession… to name a few.
God has plenty of graces in store for each one of us this Lent, and I’m sure God is thinking, “What are you waiting for?”
- What are you waiting for – to allow Christ to transform your heart?
- What are you waiting for – to have that deep encounter with Christ?
- What are you waiting for – to begin the Spiritual Spring Cleaning – to remove any spiritual debris, dust, or cobwebs that are keeping you from a transformative encounter with Christ?
So, what are we waiting for? What’s holding us back? The Lenten Season has just begun! May the phrase “Repent (Metanoia), and believe in the Gospel” inspire and motivate us to allow the transformative and life-changing grace of Christ’s love to work within us not only for the next 40 days, but for the rest of our lives.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. John L. Poncini