Today we begin the season of Lent. The forty days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving before the celebration of the Paschal mystery (Easter). It is a day when we are reminded that we are dust and unto dust we shall return, therefore we must strive to do good and live well so that when we die we shall see God face to face in heaven.

To be marked with the ash on this day is to remind us of our mortality, nothingness and weakness and it also serves as a sign of our humility and penitence before God who will show us mercy and forgive our sins as we return back to Him.

It is a time to return back to the Lord as the prophet Joel tells us in the first reading of today. We come back to the Lord with sorrow in our hearts for sins we have committed and then make a firm resolve never to sin again. If we repent of our sins we shall find the Lord's mercy available for us, because He is gracious and merciful and slow to anger.

In prayer we must acknowledge that we have sinned against God and we must make reparations for our sins. We must reconcile with God and our neighbour and make amends, because this is a season of grace and the day of salvation when God's mercy flows like a river and whoever enters into it shall be saved, healed, restored and revived to continue to run the heavenly race with a renewed commitment and vigour.

The three cardinal pillars of lent are presented to us in the gospel reading of today as things we should do throughout this season._

First we must give alms and do charity, but it must be done in a manner that does not blow our trumpet so that we may gain the grace therein and not lose it because of the desire to be praised by men.

Secondly, we must pray, but it must be done with the decorum that does not present us as a people who want to show off so as to please the crowd. Our prayer must come from the heart and it must be sincere and with much love that will move us to do more good to others.

Thirdly, we must fast and abstain, not just from food and drinks, but more importantly from sinful habits and attitudes. In this way, our body will be mortified and our soul will radiate with God's glory. Fasting, when done in accordance with God's will, helps us to grow in holiness and goodness.

Watch the motive of your action as you journey in this season. Do not practise your piety to please men, but do it more to please God and through your good works, you will find mercy. God is ready to welcome you back and help you to rise again, if only you will humble yourself, acknowledge your sins before Him and make amends.

A few things will help you make your lenten season a fruitful one.

*_Be disciplined in words and deeds
*Moderation is the key(eating, drinking, playing e.t.c)
*Practise Silence
*Love and forgive more
*Make a good sacramental confession
*Spend some quality time to build your spirituality._
*Share what you have with the poor and the needy.

Good morning dearest one. Smile😊as you do your work and do have a splendid lenten season. May your sacrifices and mortification in this season help you to find God's mercy and forgiveness. Amen. 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: Fast, pray and give alms with a good motive and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Let go of your sins and the mercy of God will heal and restore you. God's mercy is supreme always.

( Ash Wednesday: A day of fast and abstinence)