Ash Wednesday at Santa Sabina
At the Holy Father’s Wednesday Audience earlier today, Pope Benedict directed our attention to the formula of the imposition of ashes, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”–or “Convert and Believe the Gospel”:
“Conversion means changing the direction of the path of our lives. (…) It is going against the current when the “current” is a superficial, incoherent, and illusory way of life that often drag us down, making us slaves of evil or prisoners of moral mediocrity. Nevertheless, through conversion we tend to the highest measure of Christian life, we trust in the living and personal Gospel who is Jesus Christ. He is the final goal and the profound path of conversion, the path that we are all called to travel in our lives, allowing ourselves to be illuminated with his light and sustained by his strength, which moves our steps”.
“With the distribution of ashes we renew our commitment to follow Jesus, letting ourselves be transformed by his paschal mystery so that we may conquer evil and do good, so that we can let our ‘old selves’, tied to sin, die and let the ‘new person’ be born, transformed by the grace of God”.
This evening (Rome time) the Holy Father gathered in the Benedictine monastery of S. Anselmo and processed to Santa Sabina, the first Stational Church of Lent. Santa Sabina is a pristine Roman Basilica built in 422. Pope Honorius III entrusted the basilica to the Dominican Order in 1219, three years after its founding. Considered “Dominican Headquarters”, it’s walls have seen the likes of St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope St. Pius V.