Happy Ash Wednesday! Did you remember to get your ashes? This traditional sacramental can help us get into the spirit of Lent.
Each year we take the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday liturgy, and create the ashes that begin our Lenten journey today. This cycle of celebration and sobriety is intrinsically Catholic. It also has a lot to do with marriage. Which makes Lent the perfect time to give your marriage a “faith lift.” Saint Teresa of Calcutta often said that if we want to change the world, the most important thing to do is to go home and love our families. This love is expressed in both prayer and action, as we will discover in the next forty days!
So … ready to get started with the Challenge?
“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These words remind us that life here on earth is temporary — we have only a short time to learn and do and become all God wants for us, before our lives are over.
In marriage, God provides for us a partner to expedite this process. Our husbands help us to see more clearly both our gifts and challenges. The love of a good husband affirms us in the deepest places of our hearts, and gives us strength to do more and better than we could on our own. Living in such close proximity to another human being is not without its challenges. And yet, if we are willing to offer even these things back to God, these things can also be channels of grace.
When I was in grad school, one of my theology professors introduced me to a prayer that has become a spiritual beacon in my own life: Blessed Charles de Foucauld’s “Prayer of Abandonment.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that the first time I heard this prayer, it terrified me. Especially since the priest who gave it to us said that not only should we pray this prayer every day to God, but that we should consider reciting it to our spouses as well, if we wanted to really rejuvenate our relationship.
“Yeah, right,” was my immediate response. It was one thing to offer this prayer of surrender to the Almighty, perfect in every way. Quite another thing to say it to … well, almost anyone else. Including the man I love. That’s a lot of power to give someone.
But as we start this 40 Day Challenge, let us begin this day and every day with this prayer in our hearts. Let’s trust God to work a miracle in our hearts, to help us to surrender even the hard stuff with love and trust.
For the next 40 days, we will begin with this prayer. You may want to write it down and tape it to your bathroom mirror or over the sink, as a reminder of your intention.
I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Are you enjoying this Lenten series? Please support the effort if possible by picking up a copy of Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta. If you would like an autographed copy, send me a check for $15 and I’ll send one to you. My address: 10350 Royal Oak Ct., Osceola IN 46561. Thank you!