This week the Church begins the Season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Through Holy Thursday and into the days of the Paschal Triduum, the spiritual exercises of Lent demand that we dedicate ourselves to three actions: (1) fasting, (2) prayer and (3) self-denial by accomplishing acts of charity. As we accomplish these, we discipline ourselves to once again know the very manner in which we are to live as Christ’s disciples throughout the year. The forty days – a tenth or “tithe” of the calendar year – are important in how we allow ourselves to be formed by God’s ways, not our own. The prophet Isaiah, writing in the mid-8th century B.C., proclaimed in God’s name: “This people pays me but lip service; their hearts are far from me” (Is. 29:13). As we move through the weeks of Lent, another aspect of these days is conversion. We will celebrate with those who draw ever-closer to the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter their conversion to faith in God. At the same time, we must also recognize the continuing conversion all of us face to be true to the promises made at Baptism: to renounce Satan and his temptations while placing our complete trust and faith in God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus, our very hearts, that most intimate part of “me,” must be moved in order for true conversion to occur. I ask that with my fellow priests, we commit to praying for each other during these days of Lent that the sacrifices made by each will bring anew the wondrous grace of our salvation in Christ.