“When you pray go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place.” Matthew 6:6
Today, Ash Wednesday, we start our Lenten journey once more. Over the next six weeks we are called to make a change in our daily lives as we prepare for Easter.
We hear in the first reading how it is a time for turning back to God, seeking forgiveness for the things we have done wrong, and fasting.
It is a time when many of us make a commitment – either to give something up or to try something new. A time when many of us try to pay a little more attention to our spiritual life than we normally do. Perhaps that’s why you’re reading this reflection today.
This can all feel like a big undertaking, and at the same time, as we hear in the gospel today, we are not to flaunt our actions in front of others.
This is easier said than done. But perhaps prayer can help us. By taking ourselves away to that secret room and spending time in the presence of God, we can find the strength for this Lenten journey and the challenges it brings us.
As we renew our relationship with God, and are filled with his mercy, we may be inspired to make a change to our own lives. In transforming ourselves we may even find that we transform others and the world around us too.
While we fast this year, we remember all those among us who struggle daily to get enough food for themselves and their families. Part of our Lenten challenge can be to act in solidarity with them.
Pope Francis has also appealed for today to be a special day of prayer and fasting for peace.