Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, this exact day, as we are reminded of our own humanity as we have ashes placed on our foreheads. It is a beautiful way to start the Journey through Lent and ultimately arrive at Easter, where we can rejoice on the day that our Salvation was assured.
I think in my younger days, Ash Wednesday was not that big of a deal for my family and I. I remember going to Church a few times, but really the big thing was to fast that day and not eat any meat. Which, frankly, as a child, I seldom did, because it was not expected of me. But now, being older and ultimately in charge of my own faith and spiritual development I have tried my best to keep up with the “rules” that follow for Ash Wednesday. Even though it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, going to any Ash Wednesday Mass it is almost assured that the Church will be packed tight, with all of the Congregation looking to receive their ash. Why it’s such a popular thing amongst Catholics has befuddled me for a while. One of the answers I had heard is that a great deal of families have a belief going around that the Ash does something special. I don’t really think so, but I really am not sure. But nevertheless, everyone is there and is ready to begin the Lenten Season.
And as is popular amongst most Christians, everyone is asking, “What are you giving up for Lent?” With the normal responses being: “chocolate, soda, fast food, etc.” It’s always sounded to me like people were going on a diet. But trust me, I’ve decided to do those things as well earlier on in my life. But I think what’s been hammered home into me most recently is that as good as giving up those things are, the main question is… Is giving that up leading you closer to Christ? or is it leading you to that Spring break body? Now I can’t say that about everybody, but I can challenge myself and everyone else to really dig deeper. Is there not something you think would make you a more loving person? Something that you have been meaning to say/do? Something that at the end of Lent you can look at yourself and say that you are a better person… and not just a more fit person. (Again… nothing wrong with being fit.)
So for myself, I am taking a couple of pages out of one of the Priest’s book that I hear at Mass on Sunday…
First of all: I just want to generally be more kind to people.
And Number two goes along with that: I want to give more attention to people. More focus. So often are we plagued by the things we have to do or the texts we have to answer that we forget to look at the people right in front of us and say that we are so grateful that they are in our lives. Or even listen to what they have to say, they may really need you.
Number Three: Be more grateful. Father really hit this one home at Mass on Ash Wednesday. He walked down the aisle of the Church 12 times…. 12 times to do a funeral. I think if I had to do that it would be staggeringly sad. But I would also be more grateful for my life and the people in my life, that they are still there and I have not yet lost them. I think it changes the way you live if you are grateful for those small things, the things you take for granted everyday.
And finally: Probably the biggest one… the one that I thought up on my own and did not steal directly out of Father’s book. I would like to “clear the air,” so to speak. And what that means is, I want to throughout Lent, contact people I believe I may have wronged in my lifetime and make amends. Say I’m sorry, make sure I have not hurt them. This might be the toughest one yet. I can truly only like of 2 or 3 that I feel I have to really talk to. But even those seem so daunting in my mind right now. But I will be continuously praying that I may find the peace and the will from God to do what I have set out to do. I think I will periodically post it on my Facebook too, and see if any other people come up out of it that way.
Alas, that is the beginning of my Lenten Journey.
Truthfully, I don’t know how many people will actually read this blog, and I don’t really care. This is more about having my thoughts out there and not trapped inside my mind. It feels very freeing. But it can also be a way for people that read it to also participate with myself and others in things that may be going through your mind as well.
So let us begin on this Journey together.