Ash Wednesday

By Agnes Kioskli

​  ​The forty days of Lent is the annual retreat of the people of God in imitation of Jesus' forty days in the wilderness.Forty is a significant number in the Scriptures. Moses went to the mountain to seek the face of God for forty days in prayer and fasting. The people of Israel were in the wilderness for forty years in preparation for their entry into the promised land. Elijah fasted for forty days as he journeyed in the wilderness to the mountain of God. We are called to journey with the Lord in a special season of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and penitence (expressing true sorrow for sin and wrongdoing) as we prepare to celebrate the feast of Easter, the Christian Passover of Jesus' victory over sin, Satan, and death.

In our everyday life, our Lord Jesus gives us spiritual food and supernatural strength (faith, hope, and love) to seek his face and to prepare ourselves for spiritual combat and testing. We, too, must follow in the way of the cross in order to share in the victory of Christ's death and resurrection. As you begin this holy season of testing and preparation, ask the Lord Jesus for a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit so that you may grow in faith, hope, and love and embrace his will more fully in your life.

We pray:

"Lord Jesus, give us a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, and a great love of you. Take from us  all lukewarmness in the meditation of your word, and dullness in prayer. Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you and your grace, and fill us with compassion for others, especially those in need, that we may respond with generosity."