Lent, February 2008

On Wednesday, February 6, we and many Christians everywhere were marked with ashes in the sign of the cross – “Remember O man that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” These startling words and ritual are meant to awaken us to deeper realities: the reality of our sinfulness, and the reality of our need for mercy and salvation.

During Lent, we will embark on the internal journey of our souls. If we have been faithful Christians throughout the year we may find our souls to be a flourishing place filled with the good things which we have allowed God to give unto us – and, having tasted of the sweet things, we will inevitably desire more! Most of us however will find that we have allowed ourselves to become spiritually dry and barren – a desert in need of refreshment. It will be in this desert that we are called to imitate Jesus: to fast, to pray, to confront and overcome evil and temptation in our lives.

Although this spiritual passage into the desert can be painful and difficult, it reminds us that Jesus is the only One who can quench our thirst. Many times we seek material possessions and different types of activities in the hope that our thirst will be satisfied. The truth of the matter is that we are left spiritually dehydrated and still thirsting, for only God can quench the soul’s thirst: My souls thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalm 42:2).

As we make our necessary journey through the dry and barren places of our lives this Lent, let us remember that we indeed have a destination. We are not making this journey for the journey’s sake, we are doing this so that we might go to Him who can quench our thirst – “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). Let us keep our eyes upon the goal, and that will make our journey all the more special and worthwhile.

May God bless all of us during this special time.

Father Hines+

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