Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 2/17

Ash Wednesday by Amadeo Cristobal

 Check all that apply:

___ I knew that February 14 was Valentine's Day
          but I had no idea it was Ash Wednesday, too!

___ I knew that February 14 was Ash Wednesday but I forgot!

___ I remembered that February 14 was Ash Wednesday
        - but I was too busy to get to church.

___ I went to church on Ash Wednesday.

___ I went to church on Ash Wednesday and have been
         faithfully praying, fasting and serving the poor
            for three days now.

___ I went to church on Ash Wednesday
         but haven't thought much about since then.                                                                  

___ I think I've already given up on Lent this year.

No matter which one(s) you checked, you can be sure of 5 things:
   - The Lord loves you...
   - The Lord welcomes you to the season of Lent...
   - The Lord has something in mind for you this Lent..
   - The Lord wants to help you make this a season of growth,
         a springtime of peace within you...
   - The Lord isn't going to give up on you this Lent!

So, even if Lent hasn't started for you
  of if it got off to a rough start,
      it's not too late to start making the most of this season...

Take a few minutes today to reflect on:
   - how you might be more faithful to prayer this Lent...
   - how you might give up or let go some things
         that come between you
            and your love for God and your neighbor...
   - how you might, in the 6 weeks ahead,
         be generous to those in need...
   - what God might want to do in our life
         over the next month and a half...

And, now, let's all pause for prayer:
Lord, however faithful or jumbled 
   has been the beginning of Lent in my life,
I trust that you still call me to live this season
   as a way of growing in faith and love...
Keep me from being discouraged by my mistakes
   and open my eyes to all the ways
      you wait for me and want to help me grow...
Help me remember that it's no sin
   to be a few days late in beginning the season of Lent,
that the greater error would be to just give up,
   letting this opportunity for grace pass me by...
If I've made a good start, Lord,
   make me stronger in my resolve.

If I've made a half-hearted beginning,

   rev up my efforts.

If I've not yet begun at all
    then send your Spirit to jump-start Lent
       within my heart today.
O God of second chances and new beginnings,
   help me find in the weeks ahead
      a season of grace and prayer and peace.   Amen.
(If your Lent has had a rocky beginning, a great way to get things moving
would be to come to church this weekend for Mass on the First Sunday of Lent!)

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