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Ash Wednesday: A Day of Surprises

There’s something about Ash Wednesday that draws us in, calls us to return to sanity, to a change of heart and mind.

Lent doesn’t take us away from our ordinary lives, but rather it invites us to bring a new and holy attention to those activities. This should be the way with all of our spiritual practices. We take time apart in order to return to our daily activities with new inspiration. God will always surprise us with possibilities when we least expect them. Let this Lent be one of those surprises.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

The Hope of Lent

To Everything a Season

Saint Bridget of Sweden longed from an early age to become a nun. But she was obedient to her prominent family’s desire that she marry a prince. Their marriage was happy and produced eight children (including one, Catherine, who would go on to be a saint herself). After her husband’s death, Bridget followed the call of her youth.

There are different seasons to our lives, as Bridget found. Her example shows us that God knows what’s best for each season; all we have to do is listen.

—from the book Sisterhood of Saints by Melanie Rigney

Saint of the Day

We Are Made in God's Image

To be a human creature, a person that somehow bears the image of God, means that love is properly at our core. When we move in proper relation to the world we move with affection. And it is this affection that guides our action and directs the boundaries of our limits. 
God may love the world, but we live into God’s image by reflecting such love on a proper scale—among particular places and people. We live into our love when we love our neighbors.

–from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life by Ragan Sutterfield

Wendell Berry and the Given Life - Book

I Found Him in the Shining of the Stars

Lift up your eyes and see who made the stars.

Her son the priest will not be buried with his brother and parents, but will someday sleep with his brother priests in a field with a low stone wall, along which students walk back and forth to class. I have seen the field and the stone wall and I have seen students run their hands gently along the wall as they walk past the hundreds of sleeping priests.

I know you, I call you each by name. 

I pray with all my heart that this is so. 

—from Brian Doyle's book Eight Whopping Lies, and Other Stories of Bruised Grace 

Eight Whopping Lies by Brian Doyle

A Simple Prayer

I know what failure feels like. But I also want to experience you, God, to hear you speak in that fire and flame, to remove my shoes in awe, and leave your presence ready to change the world. Please call me forward, Lord, to where you are, be it desert loneliness or barren wilderness. I am at the foot of the desolate mountain, wandering around, killing time, awkwardly groping for you. And as you summon me, make me know in my depths that even while I ran from my guilt, you were already waiting for me in the desert. 

—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before by Sonja Corbitt and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before