The legend of the ancient phoenix is that it a new phoenix will rise from the ashes of the old phoenix. This ancient symbol is the model of what we are preparing for during Lent. From the Cross and Tomb, will come the new Man….the Risen Jesus who calls us out of the ashes of our sin and short comings. A fruitful Lent will only be accomplished when we are willing to allow the ashes, we receive today to be a place of rebirth.
What needs to die in us? What is Jesus calling us to change in our hearts? The three disciplines of the Christian life offer us the path. The practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are core practices to grow in Christ 365 days out of the year. They allow us to rise from the ashes of our sin to a deeper life in Jesus. This Lent dedicate yourself to a new life of prayer. Pray every morning and evening. Make the Sunday Eucharist the central part of the week. Read the Gospels. Fast from the things that are not allowing you to be free to follow Jesus. Toward the end of Lent, celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and allow yourself to rise from ashes and be the person you are in Christ. Almsgiving is a sure way to show our dedication to the Gospel. When we take care of the poor and needy among us and share with them our food, our wealth, our very selves, then we rise from the ashes of consumerism and waste.
“Today is the acceptable time!” Will you allow Jesus to show you what you need to change to be closer to him? May we all rise from ashes of our sins and failings and celebrate the Death and Resurrection of the Lord with a new heart.