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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's Ash Wednesday....

Many years ago, we were blessed to have a priest from Africa come stay at our home church.  He was attending Cornell for graduate studies and helped out for many years at our church.
Throughout those years, we formed a close bond with this man...he became a good friend as well as a gifted priest.  After his studies were completed, he returned to his native Africa, founded a school for children and is now helping the people of his country to rise above their poverty, by teaching them how to market their skills and earn a living.  In addition to this, he has spear-headed efforts to bring clean drinking water, by way of wells, to his people.

He is truly a holy man....made to serve his people.  He returns to the United States a couple of times a year to meet with his various boards, one of which is CorAfrica (see the link below), who carry on fundraising and awareness efforts here in the States.

Today our friend, Father Peter, posted this Lenten reflection, and I felt called to share it's message with you....whether you are Catholic, Protestant or non-denominational, it may give you pause to reflect on what Lent is, and maybe help you to grow in your faith.

GIVE IT UP
We think of Lent as a time for giving up and it is true: “Giving up” begins with “giving.” Give something of yourself to someone else.
Begin by giving joy.
And if you truly want to give up something, don’t just settle for smokes or beer or starchy food – though you'd like to lose that weight.
Go further. Go deeper. Try giving up something really hard.
Give up cynicism. Or jealousy. Or backstabbing.
Give up gossip. Give up regrets for choices you never made or paths your never took. Give up fighting God’s will for you. Give up always forgetting that the most famous prayer in the world doesn’t include the phrase “My will be done,” but “thy will be done.”
Need help? Try this: give up whatever fear or anxiety is keeping you from going to confession, and just go.
Give up being too busy to pray, or being too worried to hope.
There is no better time for doing that than now. As the scripture tells us today: “Now is an acceptable time.”
The point of all this isn’t just to make others feel better – or make ourselves feel holy. It’s to draw us closer to The One who makes everything, including our redemption, possible. And we do it now for good reason. Lent forces us to admit something we prefer to ignore: we don’t have forever. So, throughout the day, look in the mirror. You’ll see reflected back this inconvenient truth: we are dust. We have been marked. The clock is ticking. And there is work to do.
It begins here, and now. And it will take the rest of our lives to do. But nothing is more important. It is the great work of our salvation. The journey of Lent is one more leg on our journey back to the Father — a journey of struggle, and sacrifice.
But a journey, ultimately, of joy.
As you “remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return,” remember that, too.
And as we embark on that journey, and begin this 40 day adventure, remember one more thing.
Be patient. With yourselves. And with everyone else.
Because God isn’t finished with any of us yet.
Have a lovely day.
 

9 comments:

  1. Yes, he is truly a gifted and blessed man of God. I copied the message and sent it to our Pastor.

    I love your boldness about God. Through blogging I have met so many wonderful Christian friends. It is so refreshing.

    Blessings on your day.

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  2. lots of blessings for you from south africa x

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  3. Goodness time flies! I didn't realize it was already Ash Wednesday. Very good challenge! I like the part about giving up something deeper... too many times we like to keep those things hidden. Bring them out and allow God to work on us so He can work through us!

    Have a delightful day Wendy~

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  4. Wonderful posting. I usually try to add something instead of giving things up, like looking for ways to help others or maybe putting my needs aside for others. Thank you for reminding me to reflect and think about how I can make changes to better myself and for others.

    Debbie

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  5. Great post...thank you for the reminders of what is truly important:)
    ~Lori

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  6. A wonderful post! Your friend sounds like a wonderful man and a blessing to so many.Thank you for sharing his message with us,it was truly beautiful.Hugs,Jen

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  7. Great post.Yes we just need to give up ourselves to the will of God.Yes a life long road and at times hard.Thanks for sharing!~Amy

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  8. I really enjoyed reading your friend's message...so true and great to reflect upon.
    Be blessed,
    Cindi

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  9. How inspirational. Thank you for sharing with us all, Wendy.

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