Ash Wednesday 2016February 10, 2016
THE GRACE FOR CONVERSION
“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is God, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.”
20th century theologian Fr. Romano Guardini once wrote “I will not only let myself be questioned at the last judgment, but I would also have questions. Why, O God do you allow for these awful roundabout ways to salvation, why the suffering of the innocent, why so much wrong?”
On this day, when we are asked to repent – when we literally where what our mortality will eventually become; and at the same time be reminded that we are defined ultimately – not by that mortality – but by our divinity; do we first need to reconcile ourselves with a God that we do not completely understand or perhaps even more completely disagree with?
Because if we are honest, dare I say that most of us hold a terribly flawed understanding of the divine. Not only do we need to ask God why has such suffering been allowed to endure – why is all this repentance ultimately even necessary – could not God have kept us from sin in the first place?
But we must also ask about the implications of believing in an all-knowing; all merciful; all-loving God? What if mercy and love trump all? And if we knew that, would we be here, in this place, now?
CLICK HERE for the readings for Ash Wednesday (Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18)