Write In Between

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Benedict Groeschel, CFR

Ash Wednesday

It is interesting to note that in New York City, a very worldly but also surprisingly religious city, a proportionately larger number of its citizens obtain ashes on Ash Wednesday than do the residents of any other city in America. Thousands of people who are not Catholics crowd the churches to receive ashes and be reminded that they are dust and unto dust they shall return...

Whether one receives ashes or not, Christ's message in the Gospel is clear enough: Entrance into the kingdom of God requires repentance. There are several steps to real and effective repentance, as all members of twelve-step groups can tell you....

We must recognize our powerlessness to save ourselves and... must rely of Christ for salvation, as well as for the grace to to accept this salvation from Him. We need to be thoroughly honest with ourselves about our sins and especially about unchristian ways of thinking and unholy desires. We would be wise to confess our weakness honestly and completely...

Finally, we must make amends by following Christ's counsels in the Gospels to do good and to heed His words. "Everyone will be rewarded according to his deeds." (Mt. 16:27). When practicing any virtue or performing any works of mercy, we also must acknowledge openly that we depend wholly on God's grace.

If you are reading this thoughtfully, you are probably saying to yourself, "I have a lot of catching up to do." This is exactly what can happen in the next forty days. What will you do with these days?


Lord Jesus Christ, Your words in the Gospel are very direct. You called all around You to a fuller, more complete, and growing pursuit of the kingdom of God within. During these days of Lent help me to read Your words every day and follow them more faithfully. Let me be honest with myself and not deny that there is much for me to do in order to become Your real disciple. Then take me by the hand and draw me along so that I may follow You. Amen.

-----Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, The King, Crucified and Risen.

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