About three years ago, my husband and I began to read the Gospels, (out loud) two chapters at a time, on Ash Wednesday. We found that by doing so we could read all four Gospels by Holy Saturday. The first time, we continued after Easter and read until the end of the NT. Then we began the New Testament again and read it through 2 chapters a night. Then, we began to read the Old Testament, the same way. We are only to the end of Wisdom, so we have set it aside and began the Gospels again tonight.
Everyone else reads other books for their spiritual reading during Lent. We just stick with the Gospels. Doing so, we have had great Lents for the past three years.
So after dinner tonight, we began. Matthew Chapters 1 and 2. What is Jesus’ ancestry and where was He born? I especially like the verses about St. Joseph dreaming of angels. He was such a man of faith! That we would have just a bit of his faith and humility, we too could dream of angels.
Finally, today’s liturgy is an invitation to penance. The predominant thought of the day should be that while physical penance is okay, we need spiritual penance–humility, recognition of our faults, a steadfast heart, and the reformation of our lives. The Lord wants us to be converted to Him with all our hearts, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. He wants us to “rend our hearts; not just our garments.”
Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil. As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this day holy by our self-denial. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Liturgy of the Hours for Ash Wednesday-Evening Prayer)