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ASH WEDNESDAY – Day One of Lent: A Mother’s Heart

Day One of Lent
A Mother’s Heart

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. John 19:25

This is one of the most widely depicted scenes in sacred art throughout the centuries. It’s the image of the Mother of Jesus standing at the foot of the Cross with two other women. Saint John, the beloved disciple, was also there with them.

This scene is far more than merely an image of the salvation of the world. It is more than the Son of God offering His life for us all. It is more than the greatest act of sacrificial love ever known to the world. It is so much more.

What else does this scene depict? It depicts the most tender love of a human mother as she stands gazing at her own dear Son, dying a horrific death and agonizing with the greatest suffering. Yes, Mary is the Mother of God and Jesus is the Son of God. She is the Immaculate Conception, conceived without sin, and He is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. But He is also her Son and she is also His mother. Thus, this scene is deeply personal, intimate and familial.

Try to imagine the human emotion and experience that both mother and Son endured at this moment. Imagine the pain and suffering in the heart of the mother as she stood gazing upon the brutal treatment of her own Child whom she raised, loved and cared for throughout His life. Jesus was not only the Savior of the World to her. He was her own flesh and blood.

Reflect, today, upon one aspect of this sacred scene. Look at the human bond of this mother and her Son. Set aside, momentarily, the divinity of the Son and the immaculate nature of the mother. Look only upon the human bond they share. She is His mother. He is her Son. Ponder this bond today. As you do, try to let this glimpse penetrate your own heart so that you can begin to feel the love that they shared.


Dearest Mother, you stood at the foot of the Cross of your Son. Though He was God, He was first your Son. You bore Him, raised Him, cared for Him and loved Him throughout His human life. Then, you stood gazing at His bruised and beaten body.

Dearest Mother, you invite me into this mystery of your love for your Son, this day. You invite me to stand by you as you stood by your Son. I accept this invitation. The mystery and depth of your love for your Son is beyond comprehension. But, nonetheless, I accept your invitation to join you in this gaze of love.

Precious Lord, Jesus, I see You, gaze upon You and love You. As I begin this journey with You and Your dear mother, help me to begin on a human level. Help me to begin seeing all that You and Your mother shared. I accept Your profound invitation to enter into the mystery of this holy and human love.

40 Days Journey With Our Lord

Day One – Ash Wednesday 

Though Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, it is one of the most attended liturgical celebrations on our Church calendar. Perhaps this speaks to the desire in our hearts to have a fruitful and transformative Lent each year. These forty days honor and imitate Jesus’ forty days in the desert that immediately followed His baptism and just prior to the beginning of His public ministry. Jesus’ forty days were a time of fasting and prayer, followed by His subjecting Himself to the evil one’s every temptation. These temptations are the same temptations we endure, which is why our Lord endured them while in a physical state of extreme hunger and isolation.

As we begin our Lenten journeys, it is customary to fast, abstain from meat today and on Fridays, spend extra time in prayer, and increase our acts of charity. These meditations will take you, one step at a time, to be with our Lord in the desert so that you can more fervently fulfill these Lenten duties in imitation of Him. You will ponder what Jesus went through during those days, feel what He felt, experience what He experienced, imitate His actions, fast with Him, pray with Him, and face the temptations that He faced and overcame.

On this Ash Wednesday, begin by spending time pondering the “big picture” so that in the coming days you can focus on every detail of Jesus’ time in the desert. Reflect upon the general idea that Jesus, the Son of God, took on human nature. Then, at the appointed time, He freely chose to enter a period of self-imposed hunger, heat, isolation, struggle, and temptation. Though it would take a lifetime, and on into eternity, to fully grasp the fruitfulness of His forty days, commit yourself to the journey. Resolve to be open. Resolve to do whatever is necessary to spend time with our Lord in the desert. Know that this journey will not be easy, and it will not likely be pleasant, but it is necessary and will be exceptionally fruitful when lived right and well. Embrace this Lent as if it were the first and only time you had the opportunity to be with our Lord in the desert to prepare for the mission God has given you.


Divine Lord, You freely chose to enter the desert for a time of prayer, fasting, and temptation. Your willing embrace of this moment in Your life is also an invitation to me to journey with You. I resolve to endure a time of sacrifice, penance, and prayer. May I accompany You on Your journey to understand what You understood, endure what You endured, face what You faced, and overcome all that You overcame. Though I approach these forty days with a certain reluctance, please give me the courage to do what is necessary to make this a truly fruitful Lent.

Mother Mary, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.

Source: mycatholiclife

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