Few days ago, we had Valentine’s Day and this week’s Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, two very important celebrations in our lives. And, so? What’s the correlation between Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s day? Well, there is a connection in a way! Apart from being celebrated under the love-month of February, both events have a common variable and that’s “LOVE “. Let me elaborate this before I proceed to the main issue.
Some people say that just like bread, expressing love to someone else (couples, sweethearts, etc) should be made fresh everyday and not just on a particular day! But, we have a special day on the 14th of February that is being set aside for couples to celebrate the said precious occasion and fondly reminisce the good old sweet days!
Similarly, we are given the opportunity to show our love for God everyday of our lives. But there is also a 40-day period of Lent which kicks off on Ash Wednesday especially allotted for us to recount and reflect on God’s great love for us and His promise for us to be permanent migrants in His heavenly kingdom. However, for us to enter God’s kingdom, we must be a good person on earth, a holy one, before we die. Thus, the entire season of Lent is all about LOVE. It is about God’s love for all of us. He sent Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who suffered and died for our sins.
As I’m writing this, millions of Christians throughout the globe are falling in line in Churches to have their foreheads imposed with oily ashes in the form of a sign of the cross and with a reminder that man are mortals: that we are “dust”, and unto “dust” we shall return.” Additionally, Ash Wednesday is a welcoming opportunity for repentance and forgiveness. It serves as a gentle reminder of our Christian faith for us to be holy as we are merely temporary citizens of this world and that there is a loving and merciful God who welcomes not only those who have done good but also those who have gone astray and repented.
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence and this is about “giving up” or offering sacrifices, big or small. As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog, just like some of you guys, I am definitely not perfect, It’s hard to be holy, but I’m striving everyday. I could be skeptical at times in certain ideologies, specifically in present contexts of the so-called “giving-up” only in times of Lent. I know some of you may find it hard to give up on something especially if that particular “thing” (material possessions), “habit” (any form of excessive addictions, corruption practices, etc.), “person” (morality aspect: envy, lust, pride, etc.) are already embedded in one’s personal system. It takes a lot of sacrifice to get rid of all these.
As the Holy Father mentioned, it would ease our burdens if we look at the crucified Jesus Christ. It would be easy for us to turn away from sin, be more generous and kind to others or even loving our enemies if we turn to Jesus and ask for His help. Reflecting on this, I am pretty sure God would not mind if our journey to striving holiness is a work-in-progress. As long as we try to be privy of what God’s love for us is all about, we would be able to set our priorities in life including the conviction to transform our lives.
Ash Wednesday and the entire Lenten season is both a reminder and a call for repentance and holiness. And that makes the Lenten season beautiful!