Ash Wednesday

I remember Ash Wednesdays.

Ash Wednesday 2002 when I heard the best homily by Father Rob Marsh, SJ.

Ash Wednesday 2005, when I had juuuuust starting dating the man who would become my dear husband. That day, the second reading stood out to me the most:
“Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold,
now is the day of salvation.”

Ash Wednesdays 2007-2013 when I was in charge of the liturgies at my job – practicing those readings with students over and over and over and over…

Having spent a lot of time paying attention to the theology of Ash Wednesday and the Scripture readings associated with it, I was surprised yesterday when something new snuck up on me at Mass:

“…do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you…


…when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you…


…anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you…” (Matt. 1-6, 16-18)

Sounds like God wants to have a secret relationship with us! Where I may have heard this before as a call to not being a jerk about our religiosity (and I think it is that too), now I hear a call to something else: Intimacy.

God wants to get behind the closed door with us. Just us. Not them – people for whom we’d like to appear cool or spiritual or holy or whatever.

It’s not that our spiritual practice must always remain behind closed doors, but there are times when it seems God would like us to herself. Just the two of us – behind some closed doors.

That’s what I’ll spend time doing today.


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