Ash Wednesday 14th February 2018
‘…return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love…’ (Joel 2:13).
Today, 14th February is traditionally celebrated as St. Valentine’s Day. This year, it coincides with Ash Wednesday as we begin the season of Lent. St. Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day when couples acknowledge and celebrate their relationship. Lent offers us as Christians a special opportunity to celebrate and grow in our relationship with God, and deepen our commitment to Christ’s evangelical way of life, rooted in our baptism. The theme of this year’s Lenten message from Pope Francis carries a healthcare warning about our relationships: ‘Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold’ (Mt 24:12). Pope Francis urges us to use Lent to counteract “false prophets” through prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Lent provides us with this opportunity to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we’ve done and failed to do, and to be just to those in need. During these forty days of Lent, we are invited to reflect on the depth of our prayer life, the generosity of our relationships, and on the impact of our lifestyle and behaviour on others and on all God’s Creation.
Lent draws us back, to listen to God’s invitation to new life in Jesus Christ. And so, in faith, we turn our faces towards Jerusalem, drawing closer to Jesus as He begins his paschal journey – at one with Him in his passion, death and resurrection. May this Lenten journey be for us a new encounter with Christ our Lord, a season of transforming grace, a time of salvation for the whole world.
Full text of the Pope Francis Lenten message:… http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-02/pope-francis-lenten-message-2018.html