So what do we do the day after Ash Wednesday? Continue the spirit of the season of Lent which has just begun—prayer, sacrifice, works of charity: done in an even greater intensity.
However, the day after Ash Wednesday means something else to me. I do not know about our present pope, Benedict XVI, but in the time of the late Pope John Paul II, he reserved the day after Ash Wednesday as the time to meet the clergy of the diocese of
I was able to join such meeting in 2002, when I was a deacon. I looked forward to that day and prepared to wear my best. Together with others I was admitted into the
Then came the awaited moment. We all fell in line and waited to greet the Pope personally. I had wanted to greet the Pontiff with words like greetings from the Filipino people and the Salesians, but the moment I knelt before him, I was speechless in ecstasy. I looked at his eyes and he looked kindly at me. It was a moment I will always savor. This made the day after Ash Wednesday a day for me to treasure. It was a day when I blurted out: I can die now, for I have met the Pope! Much like the
Nunc dimittis of Simeon (cf. Luke 2:29-32). May this Lenten Season on the other hand draw from us the same phrase for in it we meet Christ even more closely. God bless your 40 days!