Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ash Wednesday

At the start of lent we are brought back once again to a very sharp focus on the heart as central to our journey towards Easter.  Just as in our journey to Bethlehem our Lenten journey is also  about the heart.  We go into the desert within so as to return to God with our whole heart.  The first reading at today's mass brought me up short.  The prophet Joel (2: 12-18) calls us back to the Lord with all our heart.  And this must not be just by outward signs of repentance, but a change of heart.:' come back  to me with all your heart'.  It is our hearts that must be broken, and  not our clothes torn. The Psalm, (50) today asks God to 'create a pure heart' and a 'steadfast spirit'.  Repentance must come from the very core of our being: we have to change our heart by keeping in mind the meek and humble heart of Jesus and seek to become one with His heart.

I came across this excellent graphic (on a website for a church in Austin Texas  HERE)  which nicely combines the the sign of the cross made with the ashes and the symbol of the heart. I don't know who designed it, but it is a very good image to use when reflecting on the meaning of  the day and of the Lenten journey.  The cross made of ashes appears on our heads but it must over the coming days penetrate into the very centre and core of who we are.  It leaves a black stain on our forehead, but its purpose is to remind us to purify our hearts by becoming more and more like the Heart of Jesus.  

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