The word lent is derived from lang which means "long" because the days grow longer in the spring. Did you know that we, who live in the Northern Hemisphere, gain eighty to ninety minutes of daylight between Ash Wednesday and Easter? Lent invites us to make a pilgrimage toward a fuller, lighter day. Henri J.M. Nouwen says that the great paradox of the spiritual life is "that the most personal is most universal, that the most intimate, is most communal, and that the most contemplative is most active." I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanlinesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. _Ezekiel 36:25-26. Ash Wednesday marks the first day in Lent -- a time of preparation, contemplation, and penitence leading up to Holy Week and Resurrection Day.