When I was in the seminary, I read a book entitled Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussaude. It was a good book which helped me and has helped many of us to experience God in every day actions and experiences of our lives. We go through ups and downs, consolations and desolations, hardships and challenges and triumphs all the time; but we are called to slow down to nearly a stop from time to time to reflect upon our lives; where we are going and how we are getting there – but to reflect on the journey and appreciate the journey itself.
Ash Wednesday begins again another time for us of spiritual renewal. We hear these or similar words as we are marked with the ashes “turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel!”
It is not that we are not always trying to turn away from sin in our lives or we don’t otherwise believe in the Gospel – we are reminded that we need to consider how we do. It should also occur to us that if we are turning away from one thing, we are by rights turning towards something else. That something else is God. We need to see God in our every moment and action of our lives and become more intentional Christians – more intentional Disciples. We look forward to the Lenten season to help us do that.
Today we begin and we pick up a Lenten practice; a sacrifice or adding a practice that will call to mind each and every day that we must be intentional in our faith. Hopefully we form new and good habits, and we turn ourselves away from our bad habits. It is said that it takes 21 days to break a habit, so we must look at Lent and the 40 days we have as forming and reinforcing good habits. And may the Lord who has begun the good work in us, bring it to fulfilment.
Turn away from sin, but turn towards God. None of us will regret that we have.