Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

Ash Wednesday and Lent

February 22, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Ash Wednesday and Lent – I am certain that you know all there is to know about Ash Wednesday and Lent. My task today is simply to convince you to do something for Lent. Lenten Prayer and fasting are important for us, Catholics. Each year Lent renews and transforms our whole life. It is an important time for us all.

As a priest, Ash Wednesday is a unique challenge. The distribution of ashes truly hits home to me. You can’t believe how I notice each time I look into someone’s eyes and say to them, “Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” I know only too well that I am waking up some to a reality that they think about often at this exact time as they have now reached an older age. I personally know that now that I am getting older that this message hits home to me. It is a time to begin accepting who I am and what this time of life is all about.

As you know, prayer becomes more sincere during the time of Lent. This is the time to be more honest with our God. This is a time to invite the Lord to be more a part of our lives. For me, the best way to accomplish this is silent prayer – a calm time of silence before the Lord at home or at Church. I know that this is difficult on certain days –very busy days when so much is happening and our mind is racing over many matters. Those days demand the time, even a few moments to allow ourselves to concentrate on the presence of our Savior, who we know is always with us. We must make room for Jesus. We must empty ourselves to make room for the Lord. This is Lent.

That is why the Mass is such an excellent prayer opportunity, even on weekdays. Each time we prepare to participate at Mass, we are asked to consider our lives and our failings so as to seek the Lord’s forgiveness so that we can unite ourselves with the Lord, seeking the Lord’s help to free ourselves from those distractions which might separate us from God’s love and peace.

At Mass, we join ourselves with the Lord at the Eucharist. It is a time of gratitude for all the Lord has done for us, for all the gifts of God’s love and especially for the Lord Jesus’ Body and Blood. The reception of Holy Communion brings us ever closer to our God. The Masses of Lent allow us to unite ourselves with those original apostles who shared meals with Jesus everyday of their days with the Lord.

Lent leads us and encourages us to remember and renew the importance of the Sacred Scriptures for our spiritual renewal. The words of the Bible lead us to new and better relationship with our Lord and God. Some tell me that they do not understand the message of the Bible. My response is to urge them not to give up. I believe that the words of Scripture have a sacredness in themselves. I experience myself that they bring the Lord to me in a new and special way, even now as I read them again, even though they have been a part of my life for many years.

So, you see Lent is not just about doing something, however, am I truly doing something to bring myself each day closer to the Lord. I know that each day – especially during Lent – the Lord wants to come into our hearts in love and gratitude. May we recognize that the Lord wants to be with us in a relationship of happiness.

Lent is a time of joy and happiness, not a time of suffering. We give up something to give ourselves the joy of being more Christian, more alive in the Lord. It’s a time to realize how blessed and loved we are by our God.

May you experience the joy of coming alive as you draw ever closer to the Lord – Our Savior.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.