12 Feb ASH WEDNESDAY
We are entering upon Lent in the persistent grip of a long, bleak winter, but we know that, as the six weeks pass, the days will lengthen and the sun grow stronger. We will celebrate Easter with the trees in young leaf and our gardens bright with spring flowers. Nature’s annual dying and rising again is mirrored in the spiritual journey of Lent, leading us out of the death of sin and selfishness to new life in Christ, won for us by the gift of his own life, death and resurrection.
Here, at the start of Lent, we are still in the wintry season of self-denial and self-discipline. It can feel as bleak as these dark, wet days. But as St Teresa has said, “Prayer and comfortable living do not go together”. We know that if we embark on our resolutions with courage we will grow steadily stronger and more alive spiritually; our relationship with God will deepen. And if we fail and slip backwards? – Well, winter will sometimes stage a little comeback, but spring is still on the way. We will go forward again, in hope, towards the new life and light and joy of Easter.