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Snippet of Priesting and Teaching Podcast: Ash Wednesday, The World Is Missing God’s Mercy

From Audio: Ash Wednesday
Last Played: February 11, 2021
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It’s time to take lent seriously. Taking ashes without making a difference in your life is lying to God. Believing our sacrifice affects the world is motivating. Fast, pray, and give alms for the body of Christ and offer up a sacrifice in a hidden way. Trust that God sees you.
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as the Christians that we are, it is time for us to get. It is time for us to get serious about Ash Wednesday and Lent for too long. We have taken it easy and it shows we're supposed to call out to God and ask for his mercy. But we must not really be intending intending it because the world is missing so much of God's mercy. Surely we can see that. So it is time for us to get serious. We are, as ST Paul says, ambassadors for Christ. But to be an ambassador requires that we uphold that which were supposed to represent. Yet many of us don't do that and worse have no real intention of doing so. To come to this Ash Wednesday service or mass and take your ashes but not actually convert your life makes you a hypocrite, just like the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets that Jesus calls out coming and receiving ashes. And, you know, saying the prayers of this ash Wednesday liturgy but not actually turning towards the Lord not actually wanted to participate in what the light. What the church wants to give is like rending your garments, not your hearts. Thea. Positive what the Lord says It is doing an outward sign, but not actually meaning it Interior Lee. You know it's essentially lying to God by saying yes. Yes, I am penitential. I received the ashes. I remember that I am dust and dust. We shall return. But then, if you don't actually have that make any difference in your life, it's lying to God. It's following through its participating in a symbol in an activity that symbolize which don't actually mean you are lying with the action and therefore lying to God. Yet even now says the Lord returned to me with your whole heart. With fasting, weeping and mourning, the Lord desires us. He calls us all the more to be, to be honest, to authentic, to turn with our whole heart. How do we do that with fasting, with weeping and mourning with with being repented for our sins and with the literal acts, especially a fasting, maybe you need motivation to be more serious about Ash Wednesday and lent. If you need motivation, maybe think of other people. Maybe you know, when you think of just yourself in your own spiritually good. It's hard to get motivated, but remember, we are all part of the body of Christ. Our Lenten penance affect others in a positive way. I mean, if our sins can affect of the people, which they certainly do, you know, think of how, if somebody there's an alcoholic in the family that affects the whole family, right? Well, if negative things can affect the whole family, so also can positive things. So our Lenten penance is Are are how well we do lent. Hopefully we do it well, has a good effect on not as ourselves and others. So maybe you have trouble fasting for your own good, do it and said, For the good of the body of Christ, maybe you have trouble praying for your own good. Do it instead for the good of the body of Christ. Maybe you have trouble giving alms for your own good. Do it instead. For the good of the body of Christ. Lent is not about you and your personal struggles and temptations, but about you and me as members of the whole body of Christ. So for the sake of your friends, family, neighbors, the church in the whole world. Take Lent seriously. Be hungry. Be prayerful. Give alms. Yet, of course, do all of this without Outward Show without making a big deal of it. Publicly. Fight the good fight for the glory of God in the salvation of souls, but in a way that no one knows but you but you and God, and have faith that God really does. See, I think that's one of things that we have the most difficulty with, especially in our culture. Now that's so focused on social media and everything goes through that in a very real sense, we have this implicit attitude that if it's not posted online, it's not riel way. It almost doesn't make sense to us. That's something would not be posted that we wouldn't talk, but they wouldn't share it. Yet that's not what's necessary. God does not need us to post anything on social media for a penance is to be effective. And in fact, of course, if they if we do that, they're probably not going to be effective. So have that leap of faith in a certain sense. To do penance is, you know, fasting alms, giving the difficult things you know, get up early. Even when no one's around to see you get up early, you say a prayer for passing a means even if no one else is in the car to see you. Pray do things like that that are for just your own good and no other. Just your own Got on, Lee. You know about them, only you and God, uh, and have faith that God really does see the world needs you to take Ash Wednesday and lent. Seriously, the world needs you to confess your sins and do penance. The world needs you to offer up upper of your offer up your suffering for the glory of God to do this, but in a hidden way and trust that our father, who sees in secret, will repay us. You know, Lent is this great opportunity? Yeah. I think for a lot of this is my own experience as well. Ah, lot of us were maybe even taught implicitly to have an attitude of Well, you know what's the least taking you to get by like, give up, give up something and Okay, You know what I have to do? All right. I'll do that. But that's not the right, and that's that's kind of Ah, minimum attitude. And if you have that at your job, you'd probably get fired. So why would that be okay for the spiritual life? Rather, our attitude should be, Hey, if this thing is good, I bet I could doom. Or like, what else can I do? What else do I need to do to be good for me? What are the challenges I should take up? Well, if I can, If I can obtain from this thing, why not something else to you know, why not build upon, uh, you know, have victory after victory instead of, well, you know, be lukewarm and just do the minimum thing. Not everyone could be a monk living in a cave, eating bread and water on their first lent. Right? It takes time. But we should have that motivation. We should want to do better. And if we believe in the grace of fasting, prayer and alms giving if we believe that our lent really does some good for ourselves and for the world, then there's actually motivation there. Then we shouldn't have a hard time. Really. Should should be easier to say. Okay, I don't like doing this cold showers suck or getting up early is definitely no fun or not eating meat on Fridays or other days of the week. I like a good steak. Who doesn't? That's difficult. But if we have something substantial, do it for if we have some understood gold like this is helping the Kingdom of God in a concrete way because God takes my prayers, takes my arms giving, takes my fasting and pours out graces because of it. Ah, then then we have a better attitude, and it's easier to have a better attitude and to take it more seriously because it has a objective concrete goal that we're accomplishing on Ash Wednesday, the church is usually pretty full more fully than it is the Easter. And yet most of those people, not most many people who are not there. Otherwise we will never see again until some other major holiday. And that's really too bad for them to take ashes today and say the prayers and but then go on to nothing else. It's pretending it's a show. It's yeah, they came because they wanted something free. Even if it's during their forehead and didn't mean a whole lot. Don't be like that. Be somebody for whom Ash Wednesday meant something as the beginning of the spirituals season of Lent. And then you'll be pleasantly surprised if perhaps you haven't disappearance before that when you take Lent seriously, do it well and fight a spiritually fight. Fight a spiritual battle that you will be rewarded with great graces with Lord will pour out his blessings upon you. And when Easter does arrive 40 days from now, it will be the best Easter you've ever had. Because the Lord is true to his promise that if we do offer up our pennants, our prayer fasting, alms giving Lord, who sees in secret will repay us.
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