“When you pray, go to your inner room…” – Mt. 6:6

Dear Jesus, Friend and Lord,
You invite me today, to receive ashes
to be grounded in the basics,
to get in touch with the heart of the matter,
to be anchored with joy and in truth,
to return to you, with my whole heart (Jl 2:12).

I want to heed your call  
to experience this time of grace anew,
this time of a deeper relationship
with you, with others, with all of creation, with myself.

Yet, while I long for these wholehearted encounters,
I hesitate to be seen, known, and loved more fully.
Because journeying to my neglected inner room
risks unmasking hidden allegiances,
revealing unfaced fears, exposing self-seeking habits,
and admitting that at the center of my heart
lies other loves than right relationship with you.

Honestly, I’d rather give up chocolate or social media,
than rend my heart.
An outer change is much easier than an inner conversion.

Awaken in me your summon and enable me
to begin this Lenten journey with grace.
Let your merciful gaze beckon me within
to whole-hearted encounters
through small steps of prayer, giving, and fasting.
Draw my heart to yours, my Lord and Friend.