“Return to me with your whole heart” -Joel 2:12
On Wednesday afternoon, our school community joined hundreds of parishioners and millions of Catholics worldwide in attending Ash Wednesday Mass. Humbly entering into the liturgical season of Lent, we as Catholics reflect upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and how to return to Him through prayer, fasting, and charitable works.
Ash Wednesday provides Catholics with a visible sign of our faith. Ashes on our foreheads are an outward sign of something that happens in our hearts – a conscious decision to repent and be more intimately involved with Jesus Christ and His mission in our world. Lent is not merely about giving something up, but rather bettering ourselves that we might further the kingdom on earth.
Father Gary explained that there are three components to Lent, which are beautifully displayed on our church altar as well as in an interactive prayer space in the narthex. The first symbol, which sits in front of the ambo, includes three incense burners. In our faith, incense is a symbol of prayers rising to God. During Lent, we should make an additional commitment to prayer, deepening our relationship with the Lord through the Holy Spirit. In front of the altar sits a red heart inside a cage. This is a symbol of how God’s love can often exist – locked inside of us despite His desire that we share this love with others. We must ask for healing and forgiveness from God so that we might spread His love more readily. By fasting, we make a physical sacrifice that keeps us mindful of our vocation and purpose. Finally, beside the baptismal font lays an open chest and a mirror. These symbols remind us of our call to acts of charity, both during Lent and always. By recognizing our own gifts and talents, we glorify God, as He blessed us with those special abilities. We are called to utilize our God given gifts in service to others, bringing the presence of Jesus into the world.
The Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School community will be taking part in a number of efforts to ensure our prayer, fasting, and charitable works this Lent. We invite you to join us in prayer, giving thanks for our 50 years of academic excellence as well as our future as an educational community. We welcome you to join us in fasting, sacrificing things that may lead us away from Christ. We encourage you to join us in charitable works, ensuring we cater to the most vulnerable in our society. May it be a blessed Lent for all in our community!