Purging the soul is a lifetime effort. There is no reason to be upset by our imperfections, for perfection is nothing more than fighting against them. How can we resist them unless we see them? How can we overcome them unless we face them?
— Francis de Sales
meditations on Ash Wednesday worship
As is tradition in our parish, last night we held Ash Wednesday worship service. Part of this service, of course, includes the imposition of ashes on the foreheads of the penitent. By the end of the liturgy, one thing jumped out to me:
Sin and death are messy. Literally.
As I struggled last night to move back and forth . . .
O Lord Jesus Christ, innocent and spotless Lamb of God, You have suffered the shameful death on the cross for us, and would have us always remember this. We again, from our inmost hearts, thank, praise, and magnify You, that You have redeemed us poor sinners by the price of Your holy sufferings and death, and were obedient to Your . . .
Tear doubt out of your heart! Never allow doubt to hinder you from praying to God by perchance thinking to yourself, “How can I ask anything from the Lord, how can I receive anything from him since I have sinned so much against him?” Never think like this! Instead, turn to the Lord with your whole heart. Pray to him without wavering and . . .
Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone. The gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those . . .
Nobody can will their heart to beat even once. Every heartbeat is a gift from God and it means he’s not done with you yet. The idea that we are going to put less value on another person’s heartbeat because they are disabled or because they carry an incurable disease is anathema to us. Remember, when Jesus rose from the dead he restored . . .
the perpetuation of unChristian American exceptionalism
Along with much of the world, I watched this morning as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. We watched with baited breath, wondering what he would say and how he would act after such a divisive and vitriolic election. We wondered if he would seek to unite America and be a harbinger of peace to the world or if . . .