Don’t Wait for a Perfect Ash Cross
Lent Reflection - 1st week of Lent
Father Keith Romke, Pastor, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton, Crystal Lake
February 24, 2022
I f you’re anything like me throughout the year you come up with ideas of things that would be great to do for Lent, and you believe that this year will finally be the year that things really come together for the best Lent ever, and then before you know it Ash Wednesday arrives and you feel like you’re unprepared! 
You want your Lent to resemble a perfect ash cross on your forehead, but it seems to you like the whole thing is going to be like a smudgy cross that makes it look like Father sneezed as he was giving you ashes!  
I know a lot of people would have given  anything to have had that smudge last year, but all we got was ashes sprinkled on our heads. And I want to propose that this was good — very good. 
You see, the very purpose of Lent is to bring ourselves humbly before God, to tell Him we love Him but that we want to love Him more, and to be willing to journey from where we are to where He wants to take us. 
We often want the beginning of the journey to be perfect, but God just wants us as we are. We want to present a perfect ash cross, but in reality on our own without God, we resemble scattered ashes on our heads. 
You received the same amount of ashes last year. Just in a different form! 
What matters is the desire to rise from our ashes no matter what our lives — or ashes — look like. So know that God loves you as you are, and that He longs to take this journey with you. 
If you don’t know exactly what this Lent is going to look like, that’s ok. Rather than looking at a precise plan: Look at God each and every day and let Him show you the way. Open your heart to connect with Him and let Him lead you to do things that really matter, that really touch your heart. 
Focus on the meaning of the ashes in whatever shape they come.
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