17 February 2010

ashes to ashes

Remember, O man, that you are dust, and to dust you will return. 
Genesis 3:19

Today marks the first day of Lent: Ash Wednesday.

As this Lenten season has approached, I've found myself thinking about it's meaning more than ever. And coincidentally (??) enough, I've gotten a few questions from friends and family, which has spurred me on to further reflection.  

The basic definition of Lent: A forty day period leading up to the Easter celebration, in which believers prepare themselves through self-denial, charity and prayer. It represents the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before beginning His public ministry.

I went to mass tonight, and in the quiet and the liturgy, I found new depth and inspiration. The Gospel reading (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18) was Jesus' own words on how to fast, pray, and give - in secret, in quiet, so that it is between you and the Lord. Why? To draw nearer to Him, to give ourselves over to transformation.

I want to share the words from a hymn we sang tonight, which beautifully captures the purpose and meaning of this season. 

Lord, who throughout these forty days
For us didst fast and pray,
Teach us with Thee to mourn our sins
And close by Thee to stay.

As Thou with Satan didst contend,
And didst the victory win,
O give us strength in Thee to fight,
In Thee to conquer sin.

As Thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
So teach us, gracious Lord,
To die to self, and chiefly live
By Thy most holy Word.

And through these days of penitence,
And through Thy passiontide,
Yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.

Abide with us, that so, this life
Of suffering over past,
An Easter of unending joy
We may attain at last.

Tonight, when I put Lute to bed he said, "Mama, I don't have to be scared because Jesus is always with me taking care of me." My hope and prayer for me and you and all of us, is that this season provides time for reflection and quiet, and a childlike faith that let's us know that He is always with us, always caring for us.


  1. Thanks, Carina. This was beautiful.

  2. what a powerful hymn. hmmm, might just have to sing that sometime this season down the road at the Presbyterian church... shhh don't tell anyone. ;)