You may consider the mosaic of Christ speaking with two disciples on the journey to Emmaus to be a strange image to use today, Ash Wednesday, since it is found in Scripture as taking place after the Resurrection of Christ. The men pictured are on a practical, yet, spiritual journey. We see them prayerfully reflect about the extraordinary events that just occurred in Jerusalem. They ask, “What does it mean? Can it be true? Didn’t our hearts burn with happiness as He drew closer to us!”
The days of Lent are a practical and spiritual journey for us, too. Like every pilgrimage Lent has a conclusion, an endpoint, a destination achieved. But our journey’s conclusion can only be truly enjoyed and understood if we have prepared for it.
In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church these Lenten days are a time of preparation. They are a time of personal repentance and sacrifice. These acts lead us to a point in which we are able to fully and joyfully participate in the Holy Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
For all Christians Lent is a time to renew ourselves in penance, prayer, and good works. For Roman Catholics it is also a moment for formal repentance of sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for how can we come to the Easter Banquet with the road’s dust and dirt clinging to us?
May your journey this Lent be a happy and penitential one.
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