Now is the Time

Dear friends in Christ,

Every year, even Lent Madness pauses on this one day. On Ash Wednesday, we set aside our silliness as we are reminded of our mortality and our need of salvation. This year, more than ever, our world needs Lent and its invitation to return to Jesus Christ.

We live in a world that is gripped by fear and hatred. Too many of our national leaders seem intent on steering to the low road. Time seems to be in short supply as jobs, families, and various electronic gizmos compete for our attention. Now more than ever, we need Lent.

Lent is, above all else, an invitation to turn away from those things which keep us from following Jesus — and to turn toward those things which draw us closer to our Lord and savior. As St. Paul says, “Now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!”

Now is the time for us to renounce fear, to reject hatred, and to take the more difficult high road. Now is the time to make space in our lives for prayer, study, and worship. Now is the time to look carefully at our lives and to open up our hearts to change. Thanks be to God, the church has given us an entire season to do just these things.

On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of our mortality. It might seem gloomy, but in fact it is an invitation to savor this earthly life as a precious gift and to live it well. Jesus Christ wants us to have life and have it abundantly, and Ash Wednesday reminds us that we don’t really have that long to get to it. So let’s do that, shall we?

We hope Lent Madness will be helpful on your journey. Behind all the competition and humor, we see in the saints a group of women and men through whom Christ’s light burned brightly. They weren’t perfect, but they managed to open their hearts to change, to let God in. As you move through this year’s Saintly Smackdown, enjoy the community of fellow travelers who root for their saints as you root for yours. Learn what you can. Perhaps your prayer life will be enriched as you invite the saints in glory to pray with you.

Tomorrow, let the Madness begin. Today, get to church if you can. Hear the Gospel. Pray for God’s forgiveness. Receive the ashen cross on your forehead. And begin this season of repentance with an open heart.

We wish you every blessing of God’s gracious love this Lenten season.

Tim+     Scott+

The Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness

60 Comments to "Now is the Time"

  1. Mary Taylor's Gravatar Mary Taylor
    February 26, 2020 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    I love all of what you said and I love Lent. I’m not sure why we feel a need to apologize for gloomy on Ash Wednesday. Perhaps it’s a by-product of our culture that needs to be upbeat and positive in order to attract membership, clients, customers, friends, you name it. The reality is that living in this, pulling aside the veil just a touch, helps us face the truth of the world we live in, which is horrible and wonderful, knowing that we are not alone.

  2. February 26, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you both. This was a beautiful reminder. There is so much promised in the return to dust so that when my time comes I can go down to my grave saying, “Alleluia! Alleluia!”

  3. February 26, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Beautifully said. Amen

  4. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    February 26, 2020 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Repent, take the high road, . . . and vote. Satan may be in office, but we can resist. Blessings to all this Lent. Tomorrow we leave the gates of the great city for Canterbury. Bring sugar cubes for your steed. Can’t wait to be with you all.

    • Gina's Gravatar Gina
      February 26, 2020 - 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, St. Celia, we can resist. Thank you for that.

      Looking forward to everyone’s sharing!


    • Barbara Pyle's Gravatar Barbara Pyle
      February 26, 2020 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Can we take the high road and leave politics out of it for the duration?

      • Linda M.'s Gravatar Linda M.
        February 26, 2020 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Barbara, for your reply. I second it. I, too, think we should leave politics out of Lent Madness.

    • Kim's Gravatar Kim
      February 26, 2020 - 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Name-calling and attitude precluded the stated “high road”. Guess that thought needs s more thought.

    • Kiki Mayer's Gravatar Kiki Mayer
      February 27, 2020 - 6:00 am | Permalink


    • Pat Watson's Gravatar Pat Watson
      February 27, 2020 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      If your intent is to drive me away you almost succeeded. I will continue to read of the saints but will skip the comments this year.

  5. Ginny's Gravatar Ginny
    February 26, 2020 - 8:27 am | Permalink


  6. Sharyn Flanagan's Gravatar Sharyn Flanagan
    February 26, 2020 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this. It is a perfect breakdown of Lent for those who don’t get it. I’ve enjoyed Lent Madness since its second year and it enhances the season for me. I think I’ll add receiving ashes from one of you to my bucket list.

  7. February 26, 2020 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Although I cannot receive ashes today I will not eat meat. I decided that going to the local community church that is Presbyterian is working out. It is very evangelistic and the reverend is a woman. I can count on the reverend to go by lent and live out the life of Jesus in all of us in the congregation. My own mortality is still something I have recognized in the past and still do, but today I am happy because Jesus will be raised from the dead on Easter.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 26, 2020 - 9:01 am | Permalink

      The Calvinist tradition has its virtues; I appreciate the wonderful, sober, long sermons on textual exegesis. That tempered with feminine evangelism should be quite the spiritual banquet.

  8. Dorothy Hayes's Gravatar Dorothy Hayes
    February 26, 2020 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the reminder to slow down and take time for the Lord.

  9. Kathy Heikkinen's Gravatar Kathy Heikkinen
    February 26, 2020 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    What an inspiring message to begin my day and my Lenten journey! Thank you.

  10. Paulette Luneborg's Gravatar Paulette Luneborg
    February 26, 2020 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Always enjoy Lent Madness!

  11. Donna T's Gravatar Donna T
    February 26, 2020 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Beautiful lesson on God’s love for us. Thank you❣️

  12. Susan Tate's Gravatar Susan Tate
    February 26, 2020 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Your comments on Lent are heartfelt and beautiful. Thank you.

  13. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    February 26, 2020 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Amen, this is a time to reflect and find a way to get myself right with God and my fellow travelers. I love this post as reminder to what Lent is really about.

  14. February 26, 2020 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thank you for thisl start to the day. I will often put aside the Lent Madness emails to “read later” but I opened it this morning. I am the principal of a Catholic Elementary School. I can hear
    our 8th Graders helping to prepare for our our Ash Wednesday Liturgy – we will be marked with the sign of the Cross – a visible symbol of our faith, hope and mortality. My day is so busy it is easy to forgot the most important things – I can forget to put myself in the holy presence of God. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

  15. Gary Hobin's Gravatar Gary Hobin
    February 26, 2020 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this Lenten message. I am — among other things — a professor in a graduate international relations program. Your message reminds us that we must have hope even in the midst of high-volume driving for the lowest common denominator, hope for the future.

  16. Claudia's Gravatar Claudia
    February 26, 2020 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Amen. This morning I enjoyed my own homemade peach lavender jam on toast with a cup of good coffee, and the simple quiet of morning and beginning the day. More and more, I see how I need time of simple quiet, time of prayer, contemplation, and awe. Amen.

    • Gina's Gravatar Gina
      February 26, 2020 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Oh, Claudia, your post made me think of my late Mom who would make peach jam just for me. You didn’t know but thank you!


    • Ruth Anne Hill's Gravatar Ruth Anne Hill
      February 27, 2020 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

      In response to Claudia’s mention of her homemade peach lavender jam, do you share your recipes? It sounds divine and sharing food amongst friends is always sacred time.

  17. Lester's Gravatar Lester
    February 26, 2020 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    May it be said many times – AMEN!

  18. Donice Gilliland's Gravatar Donice Gilliland
    February 26, 2020 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    This is beautiful. Thank you for leading us into Ash Wednesday and Lent so wisely. I am keeping some of your words as a daily prayer during this season.

  19. Mary E. Winston's Gravatar Mary E. Winston
    February 26, 2020 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this message and thank you every year for Lent Madness!!!

  20. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    February 26, 2020 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Amen. An appropriate note of gravity on this solemn day before we engage with the serious-minded levity of Lent Madness. Many thanks to Tim and Scott.

  21. Harriet Linville's Gravatar Harriet Linville
    February 26, 2020 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Shared on FB.

    • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
      February 28, 2020 - 10:46 pm | Permalink

      This is a test. Do not be alarmed. This is only a test.

      Today is <a href=""Ash Wednesday.
      Yesterday Carnival took place around the world.

      This has been a test. We now resume our normal blog.

  22. Nancy Hause's Gravatar Nancy Hause
    February 26, 2020 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much. I can’t get to church today but reading your message made me feel I’ve been there.
    You two are a joy, a silly pleasure at times, and blessed counselors at others.

  23. Maria Hassanin's Gravatar Maria Hassanin
    February 26, 2020 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Blessings to you both and alk your staff at Forward Movement. Thank you for bringing us the fun and lessons of faith in Lent Madness.

  24. Toni Cheshire's Gravatar Toni Cheshire
    February 26, 2020 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you. Wonderful message. Had our Diocesan Council this past weekend, that and your Lenten Message has left me feeling spiritually uplifted!

  25. February 26, 2020 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this reminder of the solemnity of Ash Wednesday and the invitation to use Lent as a time for prayer, study and worship. May God bless everyone as they enter into this time of contemplation and reflection.

  26. Heatherkylibrarian's Gravatar Heatherkylibrarian
    February 26, 2020 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    During Lent, I look forward to learning about the Saints and reflecting on their lives and faith. What may seem like a tongue in cheek play on NCAA basketball madness (I live in Kentucky-it’s a big thing in my neck of the woods) has become for me a very sobering and meaningful email I look forward to all through Lent. Without Lent Madness, I would just be trying and failing occasionally to give up chocolate for 40 days. Thank you for this gift.

  27. February 26, 2020 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I shared it with my coworkers here at Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Really beautifully written and inspiring.

  28. Kathy Brett's Gravatar Kathy Brett
    February 26, 2020 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you and Amen!

  29. Janice Pauc's Gravatar Janice Pauc
    February 26, 2020 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this well written reminder.

  30. Cathy Strohl's Gravatar Cathy Strohl
    February 26, 2020 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to learning about these saints and having fun doing so!

  31. Rosalyn's Gravatar Rosalyn
    February 26, 2020 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    A day of contemplation…

  32. Br. Thanasi (Thomas G.) Stama's Gravatar Br. Thanasi (Thomas G.) Stama
    February 26, 2020 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Western Lent is upon us! Fast, prayer, do acts of service!

  33. James N Lodwick's Gravatar James N Lodwick
    February 26, 2020 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Excellent! Your Ash Wednesday statement makes a perfect, brief Lenten homily. Thank you.

  34. February 26, 2020 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Above all, DO! Do pray, do abstinence, do almsgiving – as the saints do and did, may your doing be an example to thers and a reflection into your own soul.

  35. SusieW51's Gravatar SusieW51
    February 26, 2020 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to this season, and Lent Madness.

  36. February 26, 2020 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    What you shared about Lent was excellent, because it really is a time for leaving behind our ego for a life of learning and seeing as the Mystics see. As Richard Rohr says, to be drawn away for the Western thinking pattern of dualism and polarity. Take on the ability to stand back and calmly observe my inner dramas, without rushing to judgment. Once again, ‘Thank You’ for your enriching article.

  37. Sue Goodman's Gravatar Sue Goodman
    February 26, 2020 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

    What they said! Cross on my forehead, I’m ready to go into Lent. Thanks for the encouragement to join in.

  38. Roger Summerill's Gravatar Roger Summerill
    February 26, 2020 - 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to you both for an excellent introduction to Ash Wednesday and Lent from one of your Aussie links.

  39. February 26, 2020 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    St. Francis, Palos Verdes Estates, CA, is ready for another great year of Lent Madness. We have handed out the books and the big bracket chart is on our wall. Thank you! We can’t wait! Let the competition begin!

  40. LarkLady's Gravatar LarkLady
    February 26, 2020 - 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Our noon service today for Ash Wednesday overflowed the chapel, with added folding chairs and people sitting in the church nave pews adjacent to the side chapel. It was wonderful! Steeped in solemnity and reflection. And afterwards my daughter and I stopped at a local sandwich shop to pick up lunch, where the lady behind the counter took one look at us and asked, How was the service? We assured her it was just what was needed today!

  41. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 26, 2020 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully said. Thank you for a wonderful beginning to another Lenten journey.

  42. Dorothée's Gravatar Dorothée
    February 27, 2020 - 6:35 am | Permalink

    Amen. And thank you.

  43. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 27, 2020 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Welcome back into my life, which is quite restricted these days. Since I broke my hip a year and a half ago, fibromyalgia pain is much worse, meaning I don’t go out in rain or snow for fear of falling again…but I am free, FREE, to contemplate, pray, write, read…perhaps God will reveal some ways I can be of service this year…..

  44. Caroline Malseed's Gravatar Caroline Malseed
    February 27, 2020 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    Sign me on to this wonderful site!

  45. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    February 27, 2020 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your Ash Wednesday blessing, Tim and Scott. I can only add:


  46. Carole Clary's Gravatar Carole Clary
    February 27, 2020 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I needed the eloquently written reminder. Thank you. I have a post-it note on my desk quoting: “Turn away from those things that keep us from following Jesus..take the difficult high ground”.

  47. Becky Smith's Gravatar Becky Smith
    February 28, 2020 - 12:19 am | Permalink

    This looks interesting and fun. I hope I can follow it ok.

  48. Nancy Noel's Gravatar Nancy Noel
    February 28, 2020 - 5:03 am | Permalink

    Not sure I can keep up for 40 days

  49. sylvia purdon's Gravatar sylvia purdon
    February 28, 2020 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I think I will give up fear for Lent.

  50. Rita's Gravatar Rita
    March 1, 2020 - 7:06 pm | Permalink


Comments are closed.