The Deacon's Bench

If you are looking for a way to kick-start your Lent, I can think of no better person to turn to than The Anchoress, who is offering this day a rich roundup of thoughtful material.

Among other things, she’s offering to pray the rosary with us, with one of her characteristically beautiful podcasts. And she’s also compiled a comprehensive list of great Lenten reading, to carry with us into the wilderness. Pay the lady a visit. It’s always worth it. Especially now.

Another required stop on a day like this is Concord Pastor, whose prayerful reflections are always richly rewarding. His introduction to fasting is especially good.

Finally, many of us will hear the admonition to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” when those ashes are brushed upon our brows . With those words in mind, Deacon Scott Dodge has found this timely account of Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke, who candidly admits that his Catholic faith saved him.

I’ll be busy at the parish all day, and generally out of the loop. (At last count, I had three masses, two Liturgies of the Word, and one funeral on the docket…) But my prayers this day are with all of you, as once again we begin our journey into the desert.

Let us pray, in quiet remembrance of our need for redemption…
Father in heaven,
the light of your truth bestows sight
to the darkness of sinful eyes.
May this season of repentance
bring us the blessing of your forgiveness
and the gift of your light.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

— Alternative Opening Prayer, Ash Wednesday liturgy

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