Friday, 24 February 2012


Ash Wednesday has led us into Lent once again; like an opening door that has been closed for a length of time without our having noticed. The idea of being led into Lent makes sense only if we are already tuned to the cycle of the liturgical year, with its passage from so called Ordinary Time to the period of preparation for the depths and the heights of Holy Week, without which all days would be numbered merely as the passing of days and nothing more; the relentless drip of time slipping through every attempt we make to control, to slow, to capture, or to wastefully fill it with ephemeral comfort, excitement and activity.

But without  such a living connection with Christ’s Church, or even when wondering or merely wandering at the furthest fringes of Christianity,  Ash Wednesday can offer any of us a starting place.
It is a door through which everyone can pass without ceremony, or commitment, or involvement; if it is your wish, you can probably enter whatever lies beyond it and remain completely anonymous, though being attracted and allowing yourself to linger there will lead to you being noticed. Perhaps that in turn might lead to your path crossing that of someone else at the very time when you need to talk, or simply feel like doing so. Asking our questions is the easiest way to discover the direction in which we need to travel if we are to find our answers.
God wants us to come searching for Him, and as soon as we move in His direction He is there to draw us closer. Being noticed is inevitable once we have merged with others at the fringes of the crowd gathered around Him.

If we can see Ash Wednesday as an opened door it is so easy to hang back until the day has gone, and then to believe that we have missed our opportunity: that the door has closed again. But it has not closed. It is a day that brings the opening of the door and of the opportunity, but the door remains open throughout Lent: right up to Holy Thursday when we place ourselves with Jesus at the Last Supper, and watch with Him as He prays in the garden. Even throughout His Passion and on to the Crucifixion itself the door remains wide open for men and women who are struggling with an unadmitted yet unquenchable desire to learn about Him; to come closer to Him; to follow Him.  

‘The centurion, together with the others guarding Jesus, had seen the earthquake and all that was taking place, and they were terrified and said, 'In truth this man was son of God.' ( Matthew 27:54 )

In reality the door is never closed, but day after day Lent offers a starting place, and the sequence of days points us and draws us toward the definite destination of Easter.  The focus of Christians on the Lenten journey and its climax is such that, despite the “risk” of being noticed, any person moving closer is able to become part of the Church experience while still remaining aloof to whatever extent they may desire.
We are invited, welcomed, perhaps seduced; even pained into the beginnings of a new way of seeing the world and our presence within it. And one of the invitations has your own name written upon it.

Ash Wednesday is our starting place for Lent, while Eastern Catholics begin two days earlier, on what is known as ‘Clean Monday’. 
This difference helps to emphasize the fact that, whatever day it may be, it is just a name given to a day with no importance other than that it is the beginning of the journey we call Lent.
Lent is a time when every day calls us to strengthen our ties, not so much with any particular church building or its congregation, with a denomination or liturgical style, but with Jesus Himself. 
That is the only “living” connection that truly does matter, for He brings us life, and in doing so He brings us to life. He is life itself.

‘Jesus said: “I am the Way; I am Truth and Life.”
(John 14:6)

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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