Today we celebrate the first day of Lent. The Journey of 40 Days begins now.
We begin this Lent the way the Church always has, by taking the sign of the cross on our heads. The cross is marked with the ashes of the palms we used last Palm Sunday. Glory falls to ash, as our bodies fall to age, sickness and death. We will all return to earth.
But we will not stay there. No, we will rise again, just as Jesus Christ did before us. And so we celebrate this day not only with ashes, but also with the Holy Communion.
Ash Wednesday is a reminder of death. It is a day for repentance. It is a day on which we spend time asking the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts, to remind us of our sins, so that we might beg God's forgiveness and be set free. It is a day upon which we do not eat. We fast from food in order to make space for the Lord's work, not only his work today but also his work during the entirety of this season.
In the name of the Church, I invite you to a holy season. Put aside your desires, and even your needs, and join me in fasting, prayer, and meditation. Today, and throughout this Bright Sadness.
Let us Joyfully Begin
from Brother Theodore in the Lenten Triodon
Let us joyfully begin the all-hallowed season of abstinence; and let us shine with the bright radiance of the holy commandments of Christ our God, with the brightness of love and the splendor of prayer, with the purity of holiness and the strength of good courage. So, clothed in raiment of light, let us hasten to the Holy Resurrection on the third day, that shines upon the world with the glory of eternal life.