Today is Ash Wednesday
This article originally appeared in this issue of the WSR: 2019-03-06

The world does not understand Christians. They don’t know our God and they can’t understand why we spend so much time fighting for the lives of preborn babies.

Many mistakenly believe that the most important day for Christians is Christmas—the celebration of the birth of our Lord. They put a lot of emphasis on turning Christmas into a secular celebration, replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Seasons Greetings,” and focusing on gifts.

Well, surprise, world! The holiest day for Christians is not Christmas; it is Easter. We are Easter people! It is not Christ’s being born that we focus on; it is Christ’s triumph over death. It is the empty tomb on Easter Sunday morning that reveals the true love and power of God.

To prepare ourselves for that great day, Christians spend the 40 days of Lent getting ready—a time of prayer, reflection, repentance and alms giving. A time for special religious observations and contemplation of what life on earth is really all about.A time to change our sinful ways and to embrace Jesus.

Today, in Christian churches all around the world, we receive the mark of ashes on our forehead with the words, “Remember, man, you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”

We are called upon to do private acts of repentance and sacrifice, as well as joining with other Christians in special services that are designed to take our minds from the secular world in which we live. We are asked to think about where we are going. Christians believe that we are created by God to do His will in this world so that we may be happy with Him for all eternity in the next.

In the pro-life community around the world in recent years, Lent has been marked by participation in the 40 Days for Life. Based on the knowledge that “with God, all things are possible,” people of faith and conscience unite in 40 days of prayer and fasting. As a sign of solidarity with all those children who die from abortion, a focused, 40-day, round-the-clock prayer vigil is held outside an abortion facility or public place in your city. In addition, the pro-life message is taken proactively to every corner of your community during a local 40 Days for Life campaign. It is truly a time of great prayer and an opportunity for great grace. 

We ask you to take the time now to promise yourself that, this year, you are going to take the time and energy to make full use of Lent. Pull back from the secular demands of our world and think about why you are here. The old Baltimore Catechism put the reason for our existence in proper perspective. It read: Q. Why did God make you? A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.

Life here on earth is not the reason we were created. Life here is simply a journey. Let’s use this Lent to remind ourselves and our families of this fact. Let us seek God this Lent and let us do what we can to stop the killing of all of God’s children.