Lent: Immersed in the Journey
Inspiring insights and Scripture for February 14 through March 28
On winter mornings, I find myself looking for more light and life. Although now hidden, both will soon return with the onset of spring. Lent aligns with this seasonal change of the earth’s renewal, and I’m driven to seek something greater: the presence of God. Each year, I am grateful for this chance to grow in faith. As we travel together on this day-by-day journey through the season, may we both be open to the blessings of the Lord.
Receiving ashes today, I hear the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” This solemn moment provides an invitation to change. God never gives up on us, always wanting us back. We are loved, no matter how often we have failed.
“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart” (Joel 2:12).
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Following Jesus is a daily commitment. Early believers risked death to follow him, as some Christians still do. But we are promised an extraordinary outcome when we choose to deny ourselves: fullness of life in Christ.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:24).
Friday after Ash Wednesday
When I was six, I saw a child living in poverty for the first time. She was standing in mud in front of an abandoned house. The Lord exhorts us to help others out of bad situations. When we do, we truly fast, renewing our spirit and theirs.
“Then your light shall
break forth like the dawn” (Isaiah 58:8).
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Jesus had meals at table with people despised in his culture. He knew about their imperfect lives, but saw potential for good. It is a gift to be accepted for who we are and welcomed to the table of the Lord. Gathering around that table, we seek to become more like him.
“I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners” (Luke 5:32).
First Sunday of Lent
Ministry is about a call to serve in faith. Doing what his Father asked, Jesus began his after John the Baptist’s ministry ceased, proclaiming the good news and God working in him. What is the Father asking you to do?
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).
Monday First Week of Lent
Opening a door to someone we don’t know can be frightening, as it was for me one night when I heard a plea for help. I felt vulnerable myself, living alone in another country. Still, something made me trust. When we meet people in need, let us see Christ in them.
“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”
Tuesday First Week of Lent
At every Mass, we pray the Lord’s Prayer. It is our essential prayer to God the Father and a constant source of instruction. It reminds me of God’s grace—that we are to be forgiven and forgive. When you pray it, what stands out for you?
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12).
Wednesday First Week of Lent
Who has said words that changed you? Likely, a memory stands out, when another’s words made you better or made you want to be better. Jesus beckons us now to pay attention and hear how to deepen our relationship with God. Be open, pray, and listen.
“Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation” (Luke 11:30).
Thursday First Week of Lent
Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle
My friend, suffering from a terminal disease, worried about who would take care of her father after her death. Her siblings had not helped, but when she died, they came forward. The father lived into his nineties. Sometimes, the least likely surprise us. Jesus knew this about Peter, who despite some flaws became foundational to our religion.
“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church” (Matthew 16:18).
Friday First Week of Lent
God’s mercy always makes reconciliation possible. We may feel engulfed by our mistakes, but we can start over. This is the great wonder of faith—when we reject sin, the Lord rejoices at our return to him.
“Since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die” (Ezekiel 18:28).
Saturday First Week of Lent
I am challenged by Jesus’ instruction to love enemies, especially when someone I love is harmed by another with malicious intent. How do I pray for people like that? Not easily. Pray for the strength to choose peace whenever hatred or persecution comes too close.
“I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you”
Second Sunday of Lent
You can be alone in life even when surrounded by others. Isolation of the mind and spirit happen quickly in adverse circumstances. Saint Paul reminds us, though, that God’s love is all powerful. Turn to the Lord when you struggle.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Monday Second Week of Lent
Father that he is, God gave us commandments to obey. He sent prophets to the people of Israel to keep his teachings in their hearts, but they did not always listen. He sent us his Son, and still we disappoint. Despite these transgressions, God’s compassion knows no limits. We must be compassionate, too.
“Yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!” (Daniel 9:9).
Gretchen L. Schwenker