Today is Ash Wednesday, the door to the season of Lent…the time we prepare to receive the Risen King! I have fond memories of growing up in Panama and going with my Mother to Ash Wednesday Mass. There was something mystical about standing in line to be blessed with ashes on the forehead by the Priest. I treasure those memories as vivid reminders of how I got to witness my Mother’s constant faith and devotion.
This Ash Wednesday, I’m trying to concentrate on Christ. I am mainly trying to focus on all the trials and hardship our Lord had to endure. I think of the desert and temptation that Jesus had to overcome. I think of the triumphal entry quickly followed by the betrayal and His Holy suffering at Calvary. I think of the historic events that comprise our Savior’s last days on this Earth, and I think of what those events speak to me today.
And one thing that I hear is about Jesus’ humanity. The humanity of Jesus is revealed in the suffering, anxiety, mental anguish, even in the fear He experienced during the last weeks of His mortal life. And it is thanks to that human experience that He is able to look us in the eyes, during the darkest hour of our souls and say: “I’ve been there.”
Life is terribly hard, so perhaps, God gives us the season of Lent to reflect upon the suffering we must endure as we walk on this side of Heaven. Perhaps this is the time He teaches us the way, once again, so we don’t aimlessly wander about lost in our pain. He knows that somehow, we must find a way to make some sense of it all. And such sense of purpose for our pain and suffering won’t be realized until we find comfort in trusting His plan.
Therefore, I cling to Jesus today, as we enter this season. Only He can make something out of our brokenness for His honor and glory. Only He can restore us. Only He can turn the light back on in our darkest night. Only He can show us the point of all these and how we fit in the Father’s will.
Long gone are those days of my youth, when I would stand in line behind my Mother to receive the ashes. But even though I don’t have ashes on my forehead as a visible reminder of what I am, I pray my testimony shows how Jesus has given me a new birth out of the ashes of my life.