The Ash Wednesday ceremony observed on the first day of Lent can be a moving experience. Those participating receive a cross of ashes drawn on their forehead with the words ‘Repent and believe the good news’ or sometimes ‘Remember you are dust and unto dust you will return’. For believers and quasi-believers, it is a poignant reminder of our mortality. St Benedict and other monastic traditions suggest we stop repressing our fear of death by facing it and being free to live without fear.
The ashes also remind us that the next forty days – like Ramadan or the Buddhist Rains Retreat – are fixed periods dedicated to spiritual practice and awakening. Lent is a joyful time. It is not only a time to give up things but to show ourselves that we can be free from fixed patterns and addictions and can dedicate ourselves to more serious spiritual practice.
So, you might choose to give up something you do in excess or start doing it in moderation for instance, browsing the internet or alcohol. You may also want to apply yourself with more discipline to the two meditations a day or to spiritual reading or midday silent breaks.
You are welcome to join the Bonnevaux community and meditators from around the world online to hear Laurence Freeman’s talk on a Contemplative Lent and to receive the ashes virtually. You could also burn a few twigs or paper and apply it to yourself or share the giving of the ashes with whoever is with you. Happy Lent!
You are welcome to join meditators from around the world online to participate in a contemplative eucharist during which Laurence Freeman will introduce us to this time of Lent and to receive the ashes virtually. Happy Lent!
We suggest that you come prepared with a little bit of ash by burning a few twigs or some paper. You will then be able to apply this to yourself or share the giving of the ashes with whoever is with you.
Fr Laurence sends a Daily Lent Reflection which you can sign up for here.
Free / No registration required.
A link to join the live event will be available here on the day