Third Week of Easter

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

Jesus knew that his disciples would face fear and anxiety, both during his Passion and after his Ascension into heaven. In his final address to them at the Last Supper, he said this to prepare them for his absence:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way... I am the way and the truth and the life."
— John 14:1-4, 6

Our hearts can be free from the troubles of this world because we have confidence in the Lord's promise to reward our faithfulness. If we follow Christ as the way, believe in him as the truth, and abide in him as the life, no amount of suffering will separate us from him. Even death will only unite us with him more closely. Christ is preparing a place for us in the Father's house, and we will dwell there in peace when Christ returns to make all things new. In the meantime:

"The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."
— John 14:26-27

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.