Ash Wednesday is perhaps my most favorite day in the liturgical calendar. First, the commercial world has not stolen Ash Wednesday like it did to Christmas and Easter. Second, and more importantly, it is full of meaning for me personally.
I recall the story about when I was the middle school. Classes were cancelled in the morning for the students to attend the Ash Wednesday Mass. We had to walk several miles to the Cathedral for the mass. One of my good friends tried to persuade me to skip the mass and tempted me with bad distractions. He even threatened to end the friendship if I did not want to follow him. After going back and forth about where I should go, I finally decided to walk to the Church for the Ash Wednesday Mass.
Fast forward to my time in graduate school, I had another profound experience on Ash Wednesday. At that time, I was intensely focused on my studies and faith was a lower priority. A week before Ash Wednesday, the school was giving away free tickets for the screening of a 1972 American pornographic film, Deep Throat. I received my ticket and was planning to attend the film that evening. When I was walking to theatre, I saw a young lady with a sign of a cross in her forehead. I immediately realized that it was an Ash Wednesday. I decided to change my plan and attended the Ash Wednesday mass instead.
In our lives, we will hear the voices of the devil who wants us to run away from God. God will always throw his invitations into our lives so that we can turn back to him. Is there something that I need to turn back from, the wrong things in my life or something that I want to change? How do I respond to God’s invitation to come back to Him?