Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday

GOSPEL. ST. MATH, vi, 16-21.
(Fasting and Alms. Meditation on the Passion of Christ.)
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad : for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father Who is in secret; and thy Father, Who seeth in secret, will repay thee. Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

Christian Soul! The holy gospel teaches you that you should not gather treasures for this world. All earthly goods, joys and honors do not bring you true happiness; on the contrary, they expose you to the danger of neglecting to gather treasures for heaven, of neglecting to enrich yourself with the merits of good works which would procure for you everlasting peace, imperishable joy, the glory of God,— yes, God Himself with all His blessings for all eternity.

Fasting, alms, penance and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are the best means to employ during the forty days of Lent to gather heavenly treasures. For this purpose, O Christian, God Himself summons you today, while through His church He earnestly cries out to you: "Remember man that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return."

Let the bitter passion and death of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, be the subject-matter of your daily meditation during this holy season. Humility and contrition will be the blessed fruit thereof.

Resolve to attend daily, if possible, the holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which the passion and death of your Savior is actually renewed, and rest assured that God will not despise an humble and contrite heart. Fr. Alvarez truly says: "The cause of all unholiness among Christians is that they do not know what treasures are hidden in the passion of Jesus."


Grant to Thy faithful, O Lord, that they may begin the venerable solemnity of Lent with becoming piety, and perform it with undisturbed devotion.

O God of mercy and compassion, have pity on us poor sinners. As Thou invitest us today to the practice of penance, so grant us the necessary strength to conquer our sensuality. We are but dust and ashes; therefore have compassion and be stow on us the spirit of penance, through the merits of the bitter passion, and death of Jesus; that we, through the good works of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, may obtain the everlasting and imperishable treasures of heaven, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

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