Ash Wednesday reminds us that grief is critical—and therapeutic

A Reflection for Ash Wednesday

“Rend your hearts, not your clothes, and return to the Lord your God.” (Jl 2:13)

This line from Joel has at all times caught my consideration, and nearly at all times catches me up quick. There’s an extravagance to it—rend your hearts—that appears each enticing and overwhelming on the similar time. The photographs the prophet invokes, of fasting, weeping and mourning, are public types of penitence and, maybe much more profoundly, of grief. And although the counsel that our penitence and conversion should be interiorized to be able to go deep, affecting our hearts greater than our outward look, matches nicely with the Ash Wednesday Gospel about almsgiving, praying and fasting in secret, “rend” has one thing extra in it. That one thing extra, uncooked and stark as it’s, appears to name out and draw us in. It’s no accident that on at the present time when the church calls us again into the wrestle towards sin and for conversion, we’re greeted first not with phrases of consolation however of problem. We’re welcomed by being reminded of our have to grieve.

And but who needs grief?

Every Lent, as our foreheads are marked with ash in a reminder of our mortality, we draw breath for the lengthy journey forward, to evolve our minds and hearts increasingly to God’s.

One of many nice wisdoms of Christian religion, I believe, is the popularity that grief is critical and could be therapeutic. Grief responds to the world being damaged by sin, and to human beings struggling underneath the burden of sin, each as victims and as perpetrators of hurt. Grief cries out in response to and even towards the demise that sin brings into the world, saying “This isn’t what we’re made for.” Grief refuses to justify the victory of sin and demise, even whereas confessing—and that is the place it will probably open us to therapeutic—that now we have no energy of our personal to beat them.

After I learn that line from Joel, the sensation is like taking a very deep breath, drawing in power to start one thing troublesome however thrilling. But it surely additionally seems like taking a deep breath when your lungs are burning or your chest is aching.

Every Lent, as our foreheads are marked with ash in a reminder of our mortality, we draw breath for the lengthy journey forward, to evolve our minds and hearts increasingly to God’s. We inform the reality about ourselves and in regards to the world: that now we have sinned and are in want of mercy. We rend our hearts at the present time in reparation for all the times when our hearts have been closed to the struggling of our sisters and brothers, for all the times when now we have turned our hearts to our personal wishes moderately than to the dominion of God.

We all know, as a result of God has mercy on us, that “now’s the day of salvation”; we all know that our “Father who sees in secret” will make our prayer, fasting and almsgiving fruitful. And we all know that by the rending of our hearts we’re returning to the Lord, who “was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his individuals.”

Get to know Sam Sawyer, S.J.

What are you giving up for Lent?

I’m boring about Lenten disciplines; I’ve discovered that fasting from one thing I’ll encounter just about each day is most useful to maintain me conscious of Lent. So I hand over snacks.

Do you cheat on Sundays?

Sure, following my grandfather’s instance, who at all times had a glass of wine on Sundays when giving up alcohol for Lent.

Favourite non-meat recipe

Eggplant parmesan

Favourite Easter reminiscence

There was the 12 months my of us hid an Easter basket within the dryer and it took us hours to seek out it. However actually, my favourite Easter reminiscence is the primary 12 months I helped out with the Easter Vigil, standing prepared with a towel handy to a sponsor ready for a newly baptized Christian climbing out of the water.