Lest you think tomorrow that your Catholic co-workers, neighbors, or passersby on the street forgot to wash their face, let me try to explain Ash Wednesday.
Thank you, Jewish neighbors, for letting us borrow yet another of your signs and practices. The Hebrew part of the Bible, what we Christians usually call the Old Testament, refers to ashes as a sign of repentance. In other words, if we want to show ourselves, our friends, and, most importantly, the Lord, that we are sorry for our sins, we cover ourselves with ashes!
Well, we don’t quite cover our whole body, but, we…
In my recent Catholic New York column, I wrote about the meaning of Easter and how it is important to pass over to a renewed life!
Here is an excerpt:
So, the pivotal question each Holy Week is: will I simply look at Good Friday and Easter Sunday and say, “How nice! Let’s dye eggs, buy candy, get new shoes and a hat?” Or, will I unite with Our Lord in passing over from spiritual death—sin—to new life—grace—with Him?
Holy Saturday night, the Easter Vigil, will find thousands of people, our catechumens and candidates, passing over into the new life…
It was great! During Easter Sunday morning Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I had a sneezing fit! Apparently, all the magnificent lilies, in full springtime bloom throughout the sanctuary, got my allergies going! The church was exploding with pollen!
It was worth it! Because the Church is exploding with new life this paschal season!
We took the forty days of Lent, preparing for Easter, very seriously. Congratulations to those who, by more fervent prayer, more dramatic self-denial, and enhanced service to those in need, responded so well to the Ash Wednesday invitation of the Lord to “return to me with all…
“It” starts tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.
What is it ? Lent is the forty days of preparation for Holy Week and Easter.
Why do we have it ? To accept in a more intense way the invitation of Jesus to be more closely united with Him on the cross, thereby dying with Him to sin, selfishness, Satan, and eternal death, so to rise with Him on Easter Sunday to a more radiant life of grace, mercy, and spiritual rebirth.
How do we do it ? Through the three ancient Lenten practices: prayer, sacrifice, and charity.
A newsman asked me if I have any practical…