Ash Wednesday is both a time for renewal and reflection. To begin this sacred time of year we are sharing some thoughts from Fr Niall Ahern to begin your journey this Lent:
“The wilderness test starts with the ashes in our foreheads. At some point in our life, we have to go into the desert to identify what compulsions operate in our lives. It can begin at any stage in our lives. It may come when your second parent has died, when you realise that you are no longer someone’s son or daughter, but an individual standing alone on the surface of life. Whenever it comes, you have to go into the desert to stare your inner chaos in the face. Face the demons, they don’t change that much with age.
Ash Wednesday reminds us of our demons, so stand with them today even if you are alone. There is the demon of grandiosity. It tells us that we are the centre of the universe, that our lives are more important than those of others. Loneliness is a demon, as well as being the most frequently ‘googled’ word in Ireland. There is a demon of fear which torments us by telling us constantly that at the end of the day we will all be alone, unloved, excluded, outside the circle. We look for anything or anyone to remove that fear, in the right and the wrong places. There is the demon called paranoia, which enters whenever we become embittered or cynical or distressed or angry or jealous, believing that life has cheated us, that others win and we lose.
The season of Lent has begun. It is a time to honestly confront the demons within us; to let God be God and do battle within us. This Lent let us face our demons and let us do it with the sign of the ashes on our foreheads, this day and for the forty days ahead in this Holy Season.
This meditation is taken from the first day of Daily Thoughts for the Lenten Journey by Fr Niall Ahern. If you would like to buy your own copy to accompany you through Lent you can click here.