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Lent 2022: Ash Wednesday

Dear Associates, Sisters and Collaborators,

The Sisters of the Holy Cross share this Lenten reflection booklet for the sacred process of entering into the mystery and reality of Jesus’ life, suffering and death, and joyful resurrection.

Jesus models for us a cycle of life and love worth living and dying for, as well as God’s faithful, creative love which demonstrates that death is not the end of the story.

In the happenings of each of our own lives, we may find ourselves in a seemingly very different space than the Church calendar cycle. Respect and presence to that life reality gives meaning to life and the lives of those joined in support.

In whatever our circumstances, may this time bring comfort and hope. Jesus, so human, and discovered to be so divine, can hold us in compassionate love and strengthen us in hope and signs of new possibilities, and empower us as part of God’s own mission of transforming love for the life of the world.

—Sister Mary Tiernan, CSC,
General Councilor

Ash Wednesday
March 2, 2022

Joel 2:12–18; 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2; Matthew 6:1–6, 16–18

Today we are drawn into this gift of opportunity called Lent.

It starts with a ritual with ashes, a reminder that we have finite bodies that may be off-center right now. Perhaps we are feeling the human limits fasting and abstaining awaken.

We are given a chance to repent, to think differently about who we are and how the passion, death and resurrection rhythm of life is fully revealed in Jesus in his life of discovery, love, relationship, pain, hope, death and glory.

How can we think about coming from dust, ashes?

Imagine that dust as stardust, dust formed in and by our families of origin.

Imagine their life cycles of birth, meaningful experiences, death and eternal life.

Recall their welcome, love, their trust and doubts, their connectedness to the world and events around them. Think about the cultural comfort foods they might have enjoyed: morning toast, tortillas, chapati, fufu, matoke, eggs, porridge or the times they lacked food.

Migrations, draughts and wars, celebrations, discoveries and confusions over centuries.

The energy of God’s creative Spirit working in them. Their core values, hopes and skills. Fears and mistakes, reconciliations, experiences of rejection, success and God’s mercy and love.

Pause a few moments in silence to absorb the thoughts, insights and feelings within you.

Put on a lens of wonder, mystery, learning, of the wiser, more experienced person you are today. Look on, as one precious in God’s eyes, to ancestors also embraced and accepted in God’s empowering outpouring of love in all their humanness and grace.

During these weeks of Lent, imagine the life, the dust your life can be passing on in understanding of hope, of scars and of healing, of doubt and of faith. Understanding of relationships to persons, to the Earth, the stardust. God is with us in this Lenten/Life journey.

—Sister Mary Tiernan, CSC