From the first day of Lent, the Ash Wednesday readings make God's call to us clear: "Return to me with your whole heart" (Joel 2:12). It is an invitation from God to each one of us in a personal, individual way. God invites us to drop the defences that we hold up between ourselves and God.
God wants us to realize that our standards, our ways of judging and loving, are very different from God's way, and so much smaller. God loves each one of us not just sometimes but for an entire lifetime, God loves each one of us.
"Create in me a clean heart O God," Psalm 51:12 offers. "Give me back the joy of your salvation." That is exactly what our loving God wants to give us, the joy of salvation.
This is the invitation of each day of Lent. Today is the day to accept it.
With thanks to
Andy Alexander, S J, and Maureen McCann Waldron.