Ash Wednesday: Entering the Emptying Way
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Walnut Creek, CA, USA
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin? -Isaiah 58:6-7
Perhaps you have been here before. Maybe you greet this path like an old friend…or you dread its opening. Maybe you know the cost of walking its way and what it is worth. Maybe your attachments and addictions already know what’s coming, already start to relent at the signpost that marks this familiar road in the soul.
Or maybe this is your first time. Maybe you are clutching tightly to what is already being released in you, grasping firmly to what is slipping through your fingers-never yours to hold. Maybe it feels like worlds are crumbling within as the images and words you’ve come to rely on begin to hollow, a space opening for what is unseen blowing through.
Maybe you’ve been searching for this path. Maybe it found you. Maybe you have arrived at just the right time. Maybe its presence alone is disrupting what was working just fine for now. However you enter this emptying way, you are welcome here. No one can walk this way for you, but the promise is that you are not walking it alone.
This is the path where every step is a shedding, every turn a deepening. It is the path of surrendering whatever in us restricts our free presence and response to the One who is the Way itself. It may take time to recognize the grace accompanying each release, the immeasurable Presence filling every space made from letting go.
Walk in this Lenten way. You are welcome here. You do not walk alone.
I surrender into your love.
Set a timer for 20 minutes. (If that feels like too much at first, choose a time that will be comfortable for you as a starting place, committing to expand that time in future prayer.) Allow the rhythm of your breath to draw you deeper and deeper into silence. As you breathe, claim one sacred word (Christ, peace, grace, trust, etc.) emerging in you as an anchor to return you to the intention of your prayer when your thoughts begin to wander. Gently release the thoughts and images that come, making space for presence to the One who is with you here and now. Release, return, “be vulnerable to divine grace” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:10b).
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.