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photo of the week by Karen

This Lent was the first time that I noticed that Lent begins with ashes and ends with a flame.*

::Benedict XVI’s Homily at Ash Wednesday Mass (Zenit.org)

“‘Thus says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning’ (2:12). Please note the phrase ‘with all my heart,’ which means from the center of our thoughts and feelings, from the roots of our decisions, choices and actions, with a gesture of total and radical freedom. But is this return to God possible? Yes, because there is a force that does not reside in our hearts, but that emanates from the heart of God. It is the power of his mercy.”

::Lenten Intentions for Our New Pope (Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction)

“In God’s economy, prayer matters. Not because the act of prayer, in and of itself, is efficacious. Not because we are powerful in and of ourselves. But because God has chosen to meet the needs of his people through the prayers of his people. The greatest and most powerful gift we can ever give to others is to beseech the God of Heaven on their behalf. . . . The great gift of prayer is one that we now must bring together to the throne of Grace for the well-being of his Church, our Church, and for the world in its great need. We have the opportunity to be the instruments of God in cooperation with him to affect the greatest possible good for his Church — the selection of our next pope.”

::Wisdom from a mother who’s been through a few Lents – Lenten Preparations (Like Mother, Like Daughter; 2011)

“When the kids were little, we often agreed during Lent to work on getting things cleaned up cheerfully for when Papa came home. That was one big Lenten sacrifice. Do you know how much easier it is to do a chore when it’s for someone you love whom you’re excited to see? Do you know how much children love to see their mother wanting to do something for their father? That is what Lent is for: to work on virtue, especially the virtue of love.”

::From the same source, A Lenten Reading Suggestion for this year (Like Mother, Like Daughter)

“‘Where I can do the most good? As a married woman?’ The Church has an answer for that. At the very least, even if you aren’t Catholic, you could find out what the Church, as an institution that helpfully publishes all her official teachings so that there can be no confusion about what she really thinks, has to say about marriage. You might be interested.”

::For those who still don’t know what to Do For Lent – Lenten Rookie Mistakes and For God, or For Your Bod? Some thoughts about Fasting and Dieting (Simcha Fisher)

“Lent can be a wonderful source of grace. But as such, it can be a real mine field of screw-ups, especially for rookies. Here are some typical rookie mistakes during Lent.”

[*Yes, technically Lent ends at the beginning of the Triduum, not at the Easter Vigil, but let’s not split hairs. You knew I meant Lent+Holy Thursday+Good Friday+Holy Saturday.]