I remember a time when in my high school for ash Wednesday each of us was given a small cross a few days before ash Wednesday and we were asked to make a Lenten resolution from the word that was on the cross. My word was love and it was perfect. I had just broken up with my girl friend and it was not going well for me. I felt hurt, rejected and alone but the cross’ word love gave me a place to bring all the anger and rejection. I also felt I was not alone in that Christ was there with me. Christ had experienced rejection and so I felt a renewed sense of wanting to love as he did.
Receiving Ashes is receiving the gift of God’s unconditional love in Jesus. Shortly after that ash Wednesday as a junior in high school I fell in love with Julie. She was the focus of my life and I wanted to be with her, attend to her and pay attention to her above anything or anyone else. One day my mom caught me daydreaming at the dinner table and mom said “What are you thinking about as you are not here?” I sure was not I was thinking of Julie and our Junior Prom. We had fun and our dating lasted into senior year.
I invite us this Ash Wednesday to fall in love with God and I close with a poem from Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J. a former Jesuit Superior General who is deceased.
Fall in Love
Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling Love in a quite absolute,final way. What you are in love with,what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning. What you will do with your evenings,how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love and it will decide everything.