Today, with the words \”Repent, and believe in the Gospel\” and a cross of ashes smeared on our foreheads, we begin the season of Lent. This promises to be an interesting Lent, marked as it is by the upcoming resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the promise of a new Pope…by Easter, we hope. No matter what happens, today is a reminder that we all need to turn around and change our ways, to soften our hearts and open them to contrition and compassion. Here at the Monastery, we mark the season of Lent with fasting, penances, communal Stations of the Cross, and other observances. Even the psalm tones and hymns we sing take on a penitential sound, and Compline (the last office of the day) is especially beautiful with traditional Dominican chants such as \”In media vita…\” (In the midst of life, we are in death) and \”In pace…\” (In peace, I will lie down and sleep). We will be praying in a special way for Pope Benedict XVI and his successor, and of course we will be praying for all of you as well. Please keep us in your prayers as well. May we all have a beautiful and Spirit-filled Lent that leads to a glorious new beginning at Easter!