_"Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil."(Joel 2:12-13)_

_*Every year the Season of lent begins with ASH Wednesday. A day we are reminded of our mortality, that we are dust and it is unto dust that we shall return. It is a time for deep and sober reflection on how we have lived our lives and to make specific and determined efforts to change our ways and become better Christians. Therefore, we are called to live a good life so that when we die our soul will be admitted into heaven.*_

_*LENT* is a time to rise and return to the Lord as the prophet Joel tells us in the first reading. It is a time to weep and mourn and tear our hearts and not our garments. It is a time to rise and leave sin and embrace holiness and righteousness._

_*LENT* is a time for sanctification, when we approach God with a contrite and repentant heart. We must return to Him for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercy._

_*LENT* is the acceptable time of reconciliation with God and with men as St. Paul tells us in the second reading. It is the season of salvation and if we come back to God and confess our sins through the Sacrament of reconciliation, we shall find mercy and receive forgiveness and pardon through the absolution we shall receive from the priest._

_*LENT* is a time we give alms to help others who may be in need. We share with others who do not have and our gifts will help to put a smile on their face. Our giving must be sacrificial, quiet and in secret and not just to show off and attract attention to ourselves._

_*LENT* is a time to pray and seek the face of God. It is a time for spiritual renewal. It is a time to look inwards and see what we need to take away by way of sin and replace it with something good by way of righteous living._

_*LENT* is a time for fasting and abstinence. It is not just fasting about food and drink, but also about sinful habits and the things we say and do that hurt God and also hurt others around us. It is a time we tone down our desire to feed our flesh with pleasure and increase our appetite to feed our soul spiritually._

_*LENT* is a time to carry our cross and follow the Lord to Calvary. It is a time to meditate on the mystery of God's love which He has lavished upon us in Christ. It is time to love more, pray more, fight your temptations and overcome evil. It is a time for authentic metanoia, changing from evil to good, from hatred to love, from unforgiving spirit to forgiving heart, from stinginess to a generous giver, from apathy to prayer and spiritual exercises to undying love for God and everything that concerns Him and so on. Therefore, rise today, return to the Lord and begin your journey of spiritual revival and renewal and you will be ready when the time of resurrection comes. Identify what you want to offer up in this season and then start immediately to work on yourself in that area and you will definitely be a better person in the end._

_*Good morning dearest one. Smile😊as you do your work and do have a fruitful and spirit-filled lenten season. Come back to the Lord and you will find the mercy you seek. And may the Almighty God bless you: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.*_

*Meditation:* Joel 2:12-18/Psalm 51:3-6,12-14,17/2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2/Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

*Watch-Word:* Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.

_*Be serious with your spiritual life and you will be happy in the end. Change your ways and you will have peace of soul.*_

(Ash Wednesday February 17, 2021. Cycle B)

*Fr. Augustine Eleke*