The readings from today’s Thursday After Ash Wednesday Mass in the Roman Rite were:
Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4+6
We’ve finished our first full day of Lent and begun our second day.
We’ve embarked further on that journey of consciously foregoing that which we may have “given up” for Lent which distracts us from being aware of God’s great love for us and drawing closer into that awareness and to God. We’ve also continued further along on that journey of consciously doing those actions, those intentions, those thoughts we are taking on for Lent in order to be more virtuous, more holy, more Christ-centric in our day to day lives.
Regardless of if you have given up something for Lent or if you have taken on a new discipline for Lent, or if you’re doing a little bit of both, how have you done?
Does the thought of not partaking of, or not doing, or not eating, or not saying, or not drinking that which you may have given up for the next 39 days of Lent make you anxious?
Does the thought of doing those things you may have taken on as a new discipline to draw you closer to God — visiting the sick, writing one’s you care about, praying for those you find hard to, praying regularly, reading scripture, taking time to have a quiet time with Christ every day — for the next 39 days of Lent make you anxious?
Have you failed at one or the other? Are you beating yourself up for failing?
If you’ve experienced any of these anxieties or frustrations this 2nd day of Lent, take a moment to be mindful and assess the situation. In your successes or your failures of yesterday and today, where were you? Where was Christ?
Was the sacrifices so easy to do that you had no need to think of Christ? Or were they so hard you failed and didn’t call on Christ?
In our reading from Deuteronomy, Moses enjoins the people, “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the Lord, your God… loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the Lord, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering…”
God offers life and prosperity. If you’ve been anxious about your sacrifices and doings for Lent and whether or not you’ll succeed. Be mindful. Take assessment. Call on Christ to draw you closer as you journey through Lent.
The Psalmist said it best in Psalm 1 when he sung, “Happy the one who… delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on God’s law day and night.”
Take delight in this journey of doing and foregoing in order to increase your awareness of God’s presence.
You are here, on this Lenten journey, in the presence of Christ. You are here now. Christ is here now and always. Stay mindful of that as you continue your Lenten journey.
The opening collect from the Episcopal Rite for Ash Wednesday seems like “food for the journey” to close our second day of Lenten travels with and to strengthen us:
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen