Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

February 25, A.D. 2004

Scripture from Today's Liturgy of the Word:

Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-6,12-14,17
2 Corinthians 5:20--6:2
Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

A brief reflection on today's Scripture passages:

Return to me with all your heart
with fasting and weeping and mourning."
(see Joel 2:12)

The words spoken by the priest as we receive ashes today remind us of our mortality, a fact that should cause us to reflect on how we live from day to day; for it is this that will determine our destination when we depart from this life. Modern theology has greatly underplayed the seriousness of sin and has over-emphasized God's all-forgiving, all-loving mercy -- virtually (and falsely) eliminating our need for the Sacrament of Confession and reconciliation with God and man. Also they omit mention of sin's destructive force in our relationships, in society and between nations. Were not sin an abomination, God, our Father, would not have sent His Son to die sacrificially in human flesh to assume the sentence we deserved for our sin, willful disobedience to His truth and love.
Many theologians and priests fail also to stress that we're called to "work out" this gift of salvation by daily practicing those virtues Christ taught and lived. Our obedience to God's living Word, Jesus, should be inspired by our accepting that "He loved us first" by creating us, breathing His life into us, saving us from eternal damnation and offering us a new resurrection life on earth in His Son.

We think of Lent as a season for fasting, but fail to see those things from which God truly desires us to abstain: selfishness, self-will, self-seeking, self enriching -- all that inflates us while diminishing others' rights, dignity and the well-being they deserve as God's children, regardless of their stage of development or condition of their lives.

O God of love and truth,
instill in us a desire for sanctity,
that we may reflect Your Image
in our daily lives
and draw others to You. Amen.

- Marie Bocko, ocds
(mlbocko at borg dot com)


Ash Wednesday, first day of Lenten Season

[Editor's note: Every year we try to include the Lenten Regulations. This year we present the regulations of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, NY which are probably typical for the entire United States of America and perhaps most other areas of the world. If in doubt, be sure to check your local regulations.]


1. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of both fast and abstinence. Fasting, or eating less, obliges those between the ages of 18 and 59.

2. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat. This rule applies to all who are 14 years of age or older.

3. The entire season of Lent should be observed in a spirit of prayer and penance. Spending extra time in prayer or Bible study, attending daily Mass, voluntary sacrifice and self-denial, combined with works of charity and service to others, are all excellent ways to obey the Lord's command to do penance and to prepare for the joyful celebration of Easter.

4. All Catholics who have reached the age of reason must confess their serious sins in the Sacrament of Penance at least once a year. They must also receive Holy Communion at least once each year during the Easter season, which this year extends from March 9, the First Sunday of Lent, until Trinity Sunday, June 15.

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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