Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It's Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and tonight I have a restless longing that I don't really understand. I took a walk this afternoon along one of my favorite paths, and the birds were singing all around me; it felt and looked so much like Spring. The branches on the trees were beginning to swell with the life within them, and I could feel the sun's warmth on my skin. But it's February, after all, and the cold weather is coming back in just a few days. It doesn't seem like Winter, but it's not yet Spring. And suddenly I want to be somewhere else, to run away from this uneasiness which seems to be stalking me tonight. Why do I feel this way? What is at the heart of this? So many questions crowd my mind.

But I think I'm beginning to understand. It is the time between seasons, and my life is at that place between seasons. I am enduring the long, cold Winter, with all of its shadows and uncertainty, as a bud hidden inside the rose ; and I am longing for the warmth of sunlight so that I can blossom once again. The seasons are overlapping, and time seems unbalanced somehow because of it. It is an awkward and unsettling place in which to be; and there are so many unanswered questions. But I know what I must do. It's the first day of Lent and, thanks be to God, I have something to offer to Him who makes all things new: myself. This is the time of ashes, but not so very many days from now these gray ashes will give place to the white lilies of Easter Sunday. I see now through clouded glass, but soon I will see clearly. There is everything good ahead of me; I must be patient. "All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven." There will be answers in God's time; and His timing is perfect.

Ash Wednesday

"Grant us, O Lord, to begin with holy fasts the campaign of our Christian warfare: that, as we do battle with the spirits of evil, we may be protected by the help of self-denial. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

--prayer from the Mass of Ash Wednesday

For our sakes

"There is nothing so salutary for us as to meditate every day on what Jesus, God and man, has endured for our sakes."

--Saint Augustine