Ash Wednesday

We Belong to Christ

God of all ages,
your people gather before you
to be marked by the sign of faith.
May this universal sign of redemption
remind us, as we begin our Lenten journey,
that we belong to Christ.
May we, like all of your disciples, be on guard
against making impressions,
learn to offer prayer wrapped in silence,
and fast with joyful hearts.
We ask you to bless these forty days of preparation,
for we long to draw closer to you.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

© 2019 Liturgy Training Publications. 800-933-1800. Written by Mary Heinrich. Permission to publish granted by the Archdiocese of Chicago, on August 28, 2018.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Torn Hearts
Today’s Readings: Joel 2:12–18; Psalm 51:3–4, 5–6, 12–13, 14, 17; 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2; Matthew 6:1–6, 16–18. Through the prophet Joel, the Lord tells us to rend our hearts, not our garments. To rend means to rip or tear apart. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, we hear stories of those who rend their garments as an expression of grief, pain, or sorrow. The traditional garment that the prophet references usually had a seam at the collar that allowed for a tear to be made in the front of the tunic, stopping just beyond the heart. The seam allowed for the garment to be easily mended. The Lord tells us that with our whole heart, through tears and sorrow, we are to return to him and rend our heart, to internalize the outward gesture of ripping our garment.

How does one tear the heart? The heart is a vital organ, the center of our body. To tear it sounds like a painful process, but it allows the heart to be open. With the heart torn, we can more easily see the interior and are able to reveal the brokenness in our lives. God can then be invited to enter the heart and begin to heal us. The prophet Joel is telling us that the act of tearing a garment is empty if a conversion is not experienced. The Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving should truly change our hearts and draw us closer to God.

© 2019 Liturgy Training Publications. 800-933-1800. Written by Mary Heinrich. Permission to publish granted by the Archdiocese of Chicago, on August 28, 2018.

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