On Ash Wednesday, about 70 Guest House clients, staff and Board of Trustee members came together to celebrate the beginning of Lent with an Ash Wednesday Campus Mass and Luncheon at the William E. Scripps Estate on the Guest House grounds.

The Mass was celebrated in the Mansion Chapel with Rev. George Hazler, IVD, Guest House Chaplain, presiding over the Mass. He was assisted by Dcn. Chris Stark, Guest House Outreach Director. It was a joy to have many of the clients concelebrate the Mass, as well. Fr. George spoke of Lent being a time of turning and returning, and he offered everyone poignant words to reflect upon over the next 40 days.

Jeff Henrich, Guest House President and CEO, offered a special prayer for Ash Wednesday, written by William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994), entitled “Fasting and Feasting”:

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on nonviolence.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal Truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds. 

Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting, gift us with your presence, so we can be a gift to others in carrying out your work. Amen.

Following the Mass, all attendees enjoyed a simple and delicious soup and salad lunch, prepared by members of the Guest House Dietary Staff, and fellowship was enjoyed throughout the first floor of the mansion. As a nod to Lent beginning on Valentine’s Day, everyone was invited to engage in a paper conversation heart exchange, acknowledging the love God has for each person and sharing that love with one another.

It was a blessing for the clients, staff and members of the Board of Trustees to begin the Lenten journey together in a spirit of love and recovery. At Guest House the message that “Treatment Works” remains strong, and it is a message that must continue to be spread to others.

Written by Guest House Staff Writer