a meditation by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Lent begins with
the imposition of ashes, an ancient symbol of penance common in the
Old Testament and pagan antiquity. Jesus alludes to it when he condemns
the cities of Bethsaida and Chorazin for not doing penance. “If the
miracles performed in you had taken place in Trye and Sidon, they would
have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes”. (Matthew 11:21)
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting.
Ash Wednesday Prayers
Jesus, you place on my forehead
the sign of my sister Death:
“Remember you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
How not hear her wise advice?
One day my life on earth will end;
the limits on my years are set,
though I know not the day or hour.
Shall I be ready to go to meet you?
Let this holy season be a time of grace
for me and all this world.
“Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.”
O Jesus, you place on my forehead
the sign of your saving Cross:
“Turn from sin and be faithful
to the gospel.”
How can I turn from sin
unless I turn to you?
You speak, you raise your hand,
you touch my mind and call my name,
“Turn to the Lord your God again.”
These days of your favor
leave a blessing as you pass
on me and all your people.
Turn to us, Lord God,
and we shall turn to you.