A Lenten Reflection From Natch Ohno, S.J.
Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 10:00 AM PST
This year the arrival of Ash Wednesday created confusion because it fell on February 14th. Of course we had the traditional symbol of ashes on the forehead, signifying the beginning of the Lenten season. “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return,” or “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel.” Rather than prayer, fasting, and good deeds, the media messages imaged hearts, flowers, chocolates and Happy Valentine’s Day! One student even asked if “Ash Wednesday” could be moved so as not to interfere with Valentine’s Day.
We can actually see that Jesus is about love. The journey of Lent leads to Holy Week—passion, crucifixion and resurrection. There is no greater love than for one to give one’s life for one’s friend. You are my friends. In his living and his dying, Jesus shows us how to love, in his journeying with us and ultimately to the resurrection.
The Ash Wednesday scripture readings indicate how we are to comport ourselves: “Do not blow the trumpet before you. Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; . . . . (But) when you fast, do not look gloomy like those.” Rather, when you pray, we are told, go to that inner room of your heart and deepen your relationship with God. One suggestion on entering that inner room, from St. Ignatius of Loyola who founded the Jesuits, is through daily prayer with the Examen. This invites us to find God in all that we do and in all things. You can learn more about the Examen here and with the Examen Prayer Card
Next, let us move into our imagination and see the possibilities our Lenten journey awakens in us. Each of us is unique, yet created in God’s image. Here is our common entry point. We are created to enter into a loving relationship with our God. The reality of our journey is to look for what resonates in each of us. With this link, you can learn more about prayer and how to discern where God’s call will take you.
Enter into the inner room of your heart—happy Lent.