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Posts Tagged ‘Ash Wednesday’

Download Ash Wednesday Reflection Document

Download 1st Sunday Lent Reflection Document

Reflection Questions

  1. The journey of Lent began on Ash Wednesday. Have you recognised the significance of wearing a cross of ‘ashes’. Ashes symbolise a connection with the earth and being ‘humble’. The cross points to a life of sacrificial love with wide open arms embracing the world. What does living humbly mean for you? Is your life lived closed up tight, or with arms wide open?
  2. A goal without a plan is still a dream. Many people line up at the beginning of the lent ‘race’ but do not make much progress from the start line. What is your plan for Lent? Will this lead you into a ‘deep transformation’ or a mere ‘shallow show’?
  3. Genesis shares a truth about sin using a story. Have you ever noticed that the best the serpent can do is talk and try make people doubt God. “Did God really tell you…..” The serpent actually has no power other than suggestion. What voices and fears do you need to turn off this Lent? How will you listen to God?
  4. For St Paul Life and Death represent two different directions. Toward God (righteousness) and away from God (sin). Jesus has actually destroyed death by becoming human and offering his life in forgiveness. There is no more distance. Jesus rising from the dead reveals death actually has no power at all. Lent is an opportunity for intensive spiritual living toward what is life-giving. What relationships in your life are not right? Pray to the Holy Spirit to help you know what to bring to the sacrament of reconciliation this Lent.
  5. In the original greek, the word is ‘tested’ rather than ‘tempted’. A ‘test’ or trial can reveal what decisions and choices are made. We become aware if we are ‘ready’ for a challenge or responsibility to be given to us. Is being ‘led by the spirit into the desert’ of your heart positive or negative for you? Have you tried a daily practice of silence to listen to the voices of your heart?
  6. ‘Command these stones become loaves’. Fasting is a remedy for being controlled by food and satisfying our ‘body’. Our bodies are good but we are not to become slaves to every sensual pleasure. Rather than a focus on diet or weight loss, how could you ‘stop’ some activities to ‘start’ some more positive activities?
  7. ‘Throw yourself down’ is pretending that everything is ok and God will look after me no matter what I do. Am I responsible? You are where you are because you have chosen it. What do you need to take responsibility for this Lent?
  8. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

 

Download Reflection Document

Reflection Questions

  1. “thoroughly wash me from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” (Ps 50) God does not want us to stay in sadness and guilt but to grow from our experiences in wisdom, in compassion…. what wisdom might my ʻsinʼ be teaching me? What do I need to do to move on?
  2. Now is a very acceptable time – Lent is a special time, but only works if we make it important. Is there any decision I have been putting off? Having I been waiting for the right ʻtimeʼ? What decisions could I make for Lent to grow in freedom, in forgiveness, in holiness…..?

Traditional Lenten Practices

  1. Prayer – seeking to listen to God: try finding a time and place each day to be with God?
  2. Fasting – seeking to be free of what is unnecessary: try giving up music in the car, internet, video games, some television, and fill it with a practice that helps you reflect on life?
  3. Almsgiving – seeking to care for those in need: try focusing on a particular need you know about and giving either your time or money to a person or cause. Check with God how much!
  4. We only need to imagine the renewed and healed world if all were to make a commitment to these spiritual practices. What decision will you make to enter and live Lent deeply?

Download Ash Wednesday

Reflection Questions:

  1. Ash Wednesday begins Lent. It is easy for 6 weeks of Lent to pass by and one has not placed oneself on the ‘starting line’ to begin the journey. Taking part in the reception of the ashes symbolises starting the journey. It is possible to appear at the starting line but not enter the race. What was the experience and journey of Lent last year like? Share a decision and plan with a faith-friend and ask for them to cheer you on over the next 40 days.
  2. The image from the prophet Joel is an invitation for everything to come to a complete stop. Call everyone. Old. Young. Babies. Newly married. Priests in the middle of their work at the altar. How could you ‘stop’? Where? When? The image is of a special people called to be a ‘light’ not a ‘reproach’ among the nations. Pray for the whole christian church throughout the world during the season of renewed faithfulness in turning from sin and being faithful to the Gospel.
  3. Imagine being an ‘Ambassador’. The responsibility and challenge of representing and delivering important communication. If you accepted the job your witness and life-style would be challenged to be in harmony with your message. Jesus gives his disciples an ambassadors task of proclaiming ‘on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God’. Will you, as an ambassador, receive the sacrament of reconciliation during this season of Lent?
  4. Jesus does not ask, but presumes that a disciple will do certain actions. When you give alms…. When you pray…. When you fast…. These traditional lenten practices are powerful practices that help us to clearly focus on what is important. Prayer: What voices do you listen to? Fasting: What things fill your life?Almsgiving: Do you hear the cries of those in need and respond?
  5. Jesus emphasises doing these actions in ‘secret’ will be ‘repaid’ by God. ‘In secret’ guards us from seeking attention and personal ‘glory’ from others. Lent is not to turn into a shallow show. Do not be afraid to share your secret lent journey with a friend – and encourage your friend into the depths rather than the surface show.
  6. What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?

Ash Wednesday Yr C

February 11, 2013

Download Ash Wednesday Yr C

Reflection Questions:

  1. Ash Wednesday begins Lent. It is easy for 6 weeks of Lent to pass by and one has not placed oneself on the ‘starting line’ to begin the journey. Taking part in the reception of the ashes symbolises starting the journey. It is possible to appear at the starting line but not enter the race. What was the experience and journey of Lent last year like? Share a decision and plan with a faith-friend and ask for them to cheer you on over the next 40 days.
  2. The image from the prophet Joel is an invitation for everything to come to a complete stop. Call everyone. Old. Young. Babies. Newly married. Priests in the middle of their work at the altar. How could you ‘stop’? Where? When? The image is of a special people called to be a ‘light’ not a ‘reproach’ among the nations. Pray for the whole christian church throughout the world during the season of renewed faithfulness in turning from sin and being faithful to the Gospel.
  3. Imagine being an ‘Ambassador’. The responsibility and challenge of representing and delivering important communication. If you accepted the job your witness and life-style would be challenged to be in harmony with your message. Jesus gives his disciples an ambassadors task of proclaiming ‘on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God’. Will you, as an ambassador, receive the sacrament of reconciliation during this season of Lent?
  4. Jesus does not ask, but presumes that a disciple will do certain actions. When you give alms…. When you pray…. When you fast…. These traditional lenten practices are powerful practices that help us to clearly focus on what is important. Prayer: What voices do you listen to? Fasting: What things fill your life? Almsgiving: Do you hear the cries of those in need and respond?
  5. Jesus emphasises doing these actions in ‘secret’ will be ‘repaid’ by God. ‘In secret’ guards us from seeking attention and personal ‘glory’ from others. Lent is not to turn into a shallow show. Do not be afraid to share your secret lent journey with a friend – and encourage your friend into the depths rather than the surface show.
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week? 

Download 1st Sunday Lent Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. The season of Lent begins with the receiving of ashes on Ash Wednesday. If you were not able to attend Ash Wednesday ask your priest if he could mark the ashes on your forehead with a prayer on Sunday. Or you may consider placing your thumb in soil and marking yourself with the sign of the cross. It takes a physical experience to remind us of something beginning. Consider Ash Wednesday like arriving at the starting line of a race. We need to be present and committed – when the starting gun goes off we need ‘begin’ the journey to the finish line of Easter. Are you psychologically ‘ready’? What will the spiritual practices of ‘Prayer’ ‘Fasting’ and ‘Alms-Giving’ involve for your daily / weekly routine?
  2. In the season of Lent, the First and Gospel readings are not specifically linked, but independently teach us a truth about God and ourselves. The word describing the ‘Ark’ built by Noah, is also used for the ark carrying baby moses to safety, the ark holding the special tablets of the commandments and symbolic of the Ark of the Church. God has made a covenant / promise to protect and be with those who belong to him. Have you ever had an experience or sign showing God’s protection for you? Can you see the Church as an ‘Ark’ today? How?
  3. The Second readings of Lent teach us the meaning of Baptism. The cleansing of Baptism waters is not washing away physical dirt, but literally a ‘putting away of filth’ as one now living in Christ. Lent becomes a time of renewed effort in living our christian identity. What do you recognise needs to be ‘put away’ from your life? What is the first step on this journey?
  4. Jesus responded to the Spirits inspiration into the Desert. To help create a prayer-full lent, what place and time each day can you identify that will work for you? How could you symbolise beginning this journey?
  5. Being in the desert for 40 days links to Israel being in the desert for 40 years. A time of testing, proving loyalty, closer union with God. As Adults, Lent is not a season for child-like practices of giving up lollies. It is a journey facing struggle and sin, being ‘tested’, proving my loyalty to God. Is my Lenten commitment serious enough? Do I consider it will bring me closer to God?
  6. “The angels ministered to him.” God does not leave us alone. Angels are provided. Literally, Angels mean ‘good message bearers’. In my Lenten journey and wilderness experience who are some ‘angels’ that God may have already placed in my life to support me but I have not responded to. Is there someone you could ask to accompany you on your journey of Lent? It could be just the help you need!
  7. Repent and believe the gospel. This is Jesus’ first public words ever spoken. The greek word is metanoia – change, physically turn your life around. What do I know needs to change to find wholeness in my life?
  8. How will you ‘livetheword’ this week?

 

 

Lent is like a time of running the race. Receiving the Ashes during Ash Wednesday is like being at the starting line. But will we run the race? Here are some helps to get started. Download: Ash Wednesday – Getting Started

  • HOW DO I START? Ash Wednesday begins Lent. It is easy for 6 weeks of Lent to pass by and one has not placed oneself on the ‘starting line’ to begin the journey. Taking part in the reception of the ashes symbolises starting the journey. It is possible to appear at the starting line but not enter the race! What was the experience and journey of Lent last year like? Share a decision and plan with a faith-friend and ask for them to cheer you on over the next 40 days.
  • IT TAKES TIME The image from the prophet Joel 2:12-18 (1st Reading Ash Wednesday) is an invitation for everything to come to a complete stop. Call everyone. Old. Young. Babies. Newly married. Priests in the middle of their work at the altar. How could you ‘stop’? Where? When? The image is of a special people called to be a ‘light’ not a ‘reproach’ among the nations. Give some time in a quiet place to tell yourself you have started the journey and write a decision or plan for Lent
  • WHAT CAN I DO? Jesus presumes that a disciple will do certain actions (see Gospel reading for Ash Wed, Matthew 6:1-6,16-18). When you give alms…. When you pray…. When you fast…. These are the three traditional and powerful lenten practices that help us focus on what is important.

Practice of Prayer: What voices do I listen to?

Practice of Fasting: What things fill my life? What is unhealthy? What needs change? Balance?

Practice of Almsgiving: What is my money spent on? Do I hear the cries of those in need and respond? Could I live more simply and be more generous?