Posted by: Philip Rushton | February 22, 2012

Thomas Merton on Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. This is a day that marks the beginning of Lent. Tonight we will be having a simple soup supper at 6:00 PM in the fellowship hall followed by an Ash Wednesday service. For a fuller reflection on the history and purpose of this church holiday see my post from last year titled “Ash Wednesday 101.”

In the post last year I referenced a quote from Thomas Merton that captures the significance of Ash Wednesday. I thought I would quote it in full again this year.

“In laying upon us the light cross of ashes, the Church desires to take off our shoulders all other heavy burdens—the crushing load of worry and guilt, the dead weight of our own self-love. We should not take upon ourselves a “burden” of penance and stagger into Lent as if we were Atlas, carrying the whole world on his shoulders. . . Penance is conceived by the Church less as a burden than as a liberation. It is only a burden to those who take it up unwillingly. Love makes it light and happy. And that is another reason why Ash Wednesday is filled with the lightness of love.”

As we turn our hearts towards God this lenten season may we experience liberation from the weight of sin.

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