Blue spring flowers on the Cathedral grounds

Today’s Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

Friends, once again it is my pleasure to invite you to journey with us through the forty days of Lent. These daily readings, reflections, and prayers are offered as a gift from all of us at Washington National Cathedral in the hope that you will find in these offerings a little glimpse of the Holy, a little food for the journey, as we make our way to the cross and the empty tomb.

Our days are far too busy and full, but Christ bids us to draw closer to his love and his way of life. We hope these emails will be touchstones for you, daily reminders of what is most important, and a means through which you can strengthen your spiritual life. God bless you during the season of Lent and thank you for being a part of our Cathedral family.

Our reading for this Ash Wednesday reminds us that in order to draw closer to Christ the first thing we need is the awareness of our need for Christ. Many have said that pride is the greatest of sins because it is our pride that deludes us into believing we are the authors and architects of our own lives. It is pride that fools us into thinking all we need to be healthy, whole, and happy are our wits, will, and work. The Pharisee in our reading today was too proud of his own spiritual accomplishments to have any awareness of his spiritual needs. The tax-collector on the other hand, stripped naked by the realization of his own sinful nature, knew deep down that his life was totally dependent on God’s mercy and grace. As you begin your own Lenten journey, ask yourself: How aware am I of the need for God’s grace and love in my life? Am I more likely to live by the pride of the Pharisee or the humility of the tax-collector? Christ can’t reach us if we don’t invite him in, and we can’t invite him in until we realize how badly we need him.


Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP page 264)