Scripture Reading: Luke 5:34-35

Today we begin a 40-day spiritual programme traditionally know as Lent. Lent is a time set aside to contemplate what our Lord really did for us on the Cross and it points us to the joy that comes after the Cross; the Resurrection. What would you deny yourself if it meant having the fullness of Christ manifested in your life? Are you longing for God? Are you ready to deeply seek Him through fasting? Just about three weeks ago, we the DSD family embarked on a 21-day fast. We fasted for direction, breakthrough and desire for God’s mercy. These aims are important, and today again, the Church calls us to another period of fasting to further deepen our intimacy with the Lord.

Several years ago, I read a book by James Goll, The Lost Art of Practicing His Presence. In this book, Goll refers to the Bridegroom fast (referenced in Matthew 9:14-15). This fast is unto Jesus Himself; a fast for those with “a lovesick heart passionate for His Presence and longing for His return”. The Bridegroom fast is the fast of the disciples of Easter, longing for the return of their bride. On the cross Jesus cried I thirst, and in the Beatitudes Jesus said ‘blessed are those who hunger and thirst’ for right standing with Jesus. Fasting during this lent is solely for this purpose; as an expression for our deep yearning for intimacy with Him. This is a depth of intimacy that the bride of Christ must not avoid. Deeper realms require deeper wells, deeper excavations of ourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we plunge deeper into His presence through fasting during this Lent, our Lord goes deeper into us. A Bridegroom fast will penetrate the heart of God and eradicate the selfish intentions of man. St. Benedict concludes today’s reflection thus: “In these days, therefore, let us add something beyond the wonted measure of our service, such as private prayers and abstinence in food and drink. Let each one, over and above the measure prescribed for him, offer God something of his own freewill in the joy of the Holy Spirit.”

MASS: VIOLET Joel 2:12-18; Ps 51:3-4. 5-6ab. 12-13. 14. 17 (R.3a); 2 Cor 5:20. 6:2; Accl. Ps 95:7d.8a; Mt 6:1-6.16-18 ASH WEDNESDAY (FAST AND ABSTINENCE)

Prayer Points:

Lord God of mercy, I acknowledge my weakness and my inability to help myself; grant me the grace, I beseech You, to enter into this year’s fasting with commitment and docility to the dictates of Your Spirit, in Jesus name.

Father, in the name of Jesus, I make a fresh commitment to You my Lord and Saviour, to love You, live in peace and harmony, not only with my family members, friends and close neighbours, but also with all members of the body of Christ in my community.

Take the prayers of “Divine Mercy” in DSD.

Exercise: Take the “Stations of the Cross” in “Amen: It is Done” (page 25).

Meditation: Joel 2:12-14