Ash Wednesday Challenge: Return to the Lord With All Our Hearts

During the service, two faculty members offered reflections on their own lives and the challenges of making real change during the season of Lent in order to become closer to God.

Mrs. Kate Jones offered a reflection on her role as a mother and the unique challenges that brings when trying to improve her own faith life.

"In the last year I have made a more concerted effort to go to mass with my children, instead of only going alone. The first few weeks went pretty well, but the following weeks led to my son running to the water fountain, other sections of the church and so on. I started to get looks from other people in the church which caused my anxiety to rise and my desire to be at mass decline. Experiences like this has caused me to be afraid of trying new things.
I am encouraged by the team of family members around us and the kindness of strangers I have met along the way. They have made some of these new things easier. While I may struggle to find a faith/Church community where I feel welcomed and safe, St. Edmund Prep has been my spiritual community. It is feel closest to God and experience his good works. It is where I am reminded that no matter how bad of a rule follower I am, he is here waiting to welcome me back. So this Lent, I am going to try to get my entire family to go to Church. Not an easy task. No matter how difficult, I want this to be the new thing I do this Lent which will lead me closer to God."

Mr. Scott O'Donnell '06 shared his struggles with "giving up" things during Lent and how this has changed over his lifetime.

"The scriptures this morning encouraged us to return to the Lord with our whole hearts, and this is the key! Our whole hearts! We can't dip our toes in the pool of faith, we must jump in wholeheartedly. So as a young man, I always struggled with the practice of giving something up for Lent. I didn't understand how this seemingly insignificant sacrifice was going to help me more closely identify with the sacrifice of Christ. I never saw the need to make a sacrifice. At that time I was really only thinking about myself, I was being selfish. I wasn't doing anything with my whole heart.

As I have grown older, I have realized that a sacrifice doesn't always mean taking away something from yourself. We can give make that sacrifice and give something up, but we’re supposed to replace that with something that is going to bring us closer to God. When we do that we open our hearts to Jesus and allow him into our lives more fully."

As we journey through Lent together, let us look for the ways that we can make positive changes in our lives. Let us do it with all of our hearts. Let us not take any credit for it. Let us know and believe that we are doing our best to bring ourselves closer to our loving God.
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