The purifying walk to Good Friday
Handout for Ash Wednesday.
Description: When we receive ashes on our foreheads, it’s to remind ourselves of our sinfulness and our need for Jesus and what he did for us on Good Friday to redeem us from sin. To evangelize everyone who shows up for ashes, this handout asks: What will you do this Lent that will aid your spiritual growth? It gives the suggestion: Identify one fault — just one — and choose an activity or an abstinence that will help you overcome it.
In Joel 2:12-18, God beckons: “Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.” This scripture and Psalm 51 reassure us that God is merciful toward those who regret their sins so much that they repent. Dealing with our need to change can feel overwhelming and shameful, but if we keep our eyes on God’s mercy, we feel helped, healed, and resurrected.
To help us on the Lenten journey of purification, Jesus is giving us, in Matthew 6:1-6 and 16-18, a walking staff. It has three parts. The bottom of it is prayer; this is what grounds us. The middle section is fasting; this is what gives strength to the staff. The top section, like a shepherd’s crook, is almsgiving; it bends our heavenward heart back to earth where we minister to the people God has placed in our lives.
Or see these alternatives for Ash Wednesday:
How healing will your Lent be?
How to Experience Victory Over Suffering this Lent
Ideas for use: Bulletin insert or handout for Ash Wednesday or the Sunday prior or anytime during Lent; hand this out to the many rarely-active Catholics who come to church for ashes. Also great for beginning the Period of Purification in RCIA class.
Idea from a satisfied customer: “Last year, we collected walking canes from beach driftwood and painted them in thirds to represent the fasting, prayers, and almsgiving sections you mentioned. It was very meaningful as well as visually impactful. Thank you for such insightful material.”