St. Therese Society

a group of college and young professional women in St. Louis seeking to deepen their spirituality and grow in holiness while discerning a possible vocation to religious life

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Location: St. Louis, Missouri

"Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...in a word, that it was eternal! My vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday


"Your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Mt 6: 4, 6, 18)

Jesus' words are addressed to each one of us at the beginning of our Lenten journey. We begin it with the imposition of ashes, an austere penitential gesture very dear to Christian tradition. It emphasizes the awareness of sinners as they stand before the majesty and holiness of God. At the same time, it demonstrates readiness to accept and to transform into concrete choices adherence to the Gospel...

The Gospel emphasizes that the Lord "sees in secret", that is, he scrutinizes our hearts. The external gestures of penance are valuable if they are an expression of an inner attitude and demonstrate the firm determination to shun evil and to take the path of righteousness. This is the profound sense of Christian ascesis.

"Ascesis": the very word evokes the image of ascending to lofty heights. This necessarily entails sacrifices and renunciation. Indeed, to make the journey easier, one must be reduced to the bare essentials; to be prepared to face every hardship and overcome every obstacle in order to reach the pre-established goal. To become authentic disciples of Christ, it is necessary to deny oneself, take up one's cross and follow him. This is the arduous path to holiness that every baptized person is called to follow.
--Pope John Paul II, Ash Wednesday Homily, 2004

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