Throughout the Lenten season, we’ll be posting reflections for holy days and Sundays. These reflections are taken from this year’s Lenten reflection booklet, The Beauty We Must Hold Fast To: Reflections for Lent 2022, which includes all-new reflections written by former Pax Christi USA General Secretaries, National Coordinators and Executive Directors. Click here to see all reflections as they are posted as well as links to other Lenten resources on our Lent 2022 webpage.

If you are looking for a daily reflection booklet specially curated for Lent, you can still purchase and download this year’s e-booklet, The Beauty We Must Hold Fast To: Reflections for Lent 2022. Read more about the booklet at this link or click here to order and download now.

reflection for ASH WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2022

by Joseph Fahey
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

Joel 2:12-18 | 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2 | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Brothers & sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:20)

As we begin this Lenten season today’s readings call upon each of us to turn to God with “your whole heart … fasting … weeping … mourning” (Jl 2:12); “to be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20); and to avoid the hypocrisy of those who pray or give alms in public while ignoring the privacy of the Reign of God within “your inner room … in secret” (Mt 6:6). Hence, we are urged on this first day of Lent to repent for our sins, to seek reconciliation through Christ, and to avoid the hypocrisy of those who ignore our God “who sees in secret”.

Lent, therefore, is a call to repentance, a call to reconciliation, and a call to affirm the Reign of God here on earth. These simple directives were instrumental in the foundation of Pax Christi USA. The founders called upon the United States to repent for the murder committed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the use of the atomic bomb. They viewed the arms race that followed World War II as a sinful misuse of God-given funds that should have been directed to the poor and forgotten of this earth. They were painfully aware that the social cost of the immoral arms race meant continued poverty, denial of health care, inadequate education, and systemic racism. They called upon Christians to seek reconciliation with God through reconciliation with former enemies. Inspired by Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris (1963), they supported the United Nations as a hopeful path to global governance that would outlaw war and make the environment safe for future generations. Pax Christi USA’s founders included Eileen Egan, Gordon Zahn, Dorothy Day, and Bishops Thomas Gumbleton and Carroll Dozier. These prophetic people humbly sought to establish Christ’s peace here on earth.

Let us begin this Lenten period with penance in our hearts for our own sins and those of our nation and with a renewed spirit of love for all through reconciliation through Jesus.

ASH WEDNESDAY ACTION: We implore members of the Pax Christi USA community, U.S. Catholics, and people of faith everywhere to join together in the day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine called for by Pope Francis on March 2, Ash Wednesday. We encourage our community to publicly vigil in support of peace on this day. We are asking Pax Christi USA members to take this one step further and to publicly vigil for peace in Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine and elsewhere around the world EVERY WEDNESDAY throughout Lent. The Pax Christi Young Adult Caucus will be carrying our prayers and solidarity with them on Ash Wednesday in a liturgy for peace outside the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Click here to learn more, as well as information on joining them in person or via the livestream.

>> Click here to see more resources for prayer, study and action this Lenten season.

Joseph Fahey was one of the cofounders of Pax Christi USA and the General Secretary from 1974-78. He served as a professor of religious studies and a member of the peace studies faculty at Manhattan College in New York City. He is the author of A Peace Reader: Essential Readings on War, Justice, Nonviolence and World Order, among other books. Joe is a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace.

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