Ash Wednesday calls us to pray, fast, and give alms to those in need. But the purpose of those important acts is to change our hearts, opening them to God and the least of His sisters and brothers.
Though this year Valentine's Day falls on the same day as Ash Wednesday, we still must observe the day with fasting and abstinence. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, is quoted in a recent New York Times piece that he sees no harm in marking both days at once. Joy and religious obligation can, and should, go hand-in-hand.
When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.
Across the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, our parishes and retreat centers provide special Lenten programs and retreats, in addition to Masses and regular observances such as Holy Hours and Stations of the Cross. For more information, click here for the parishes and here for the retreat centers.
Please join us this Lent and let us journey together, following Christ as closely as we can, so we may celebrate together the joy of His Resurrection, 40 days from now.