Normally, I like to do Wedding Wednesdays… but this week, we’ll take a break and reflect on something higher. Today is officially the beginning of Lent; it’s Ash Wednesday. Growing up Catholic and still as a practicing Catholic, it’s the time we begin preparation for Easter. Lent is a time of prayer, penitence, and almsgiving. It lasts for 40 days, which represents the days that Jesus spent in the desert and fought temptation from Satan. Traditionally we give up something for lent, usually it’s something that is hard to give up. And for the 40 days, you try to resist the temptation to indulge in the thing you decide to give up- this is the penitence part. Another thing we do is to fast on Fridays and refrain from eating meat. We are allowed to eat 1 meatless meal and 2 smaller meals for subsistence, but nothing more. This only applies to those Catholics between 18 and 60 years old. For this years Lent, Tommy and I have decided that we’d give up meat except for 1 day a week. The reason we did the 1 day a week is because there are times where we’ll be visiting someone who’s cooking, and we really do not want to inconvenience them. The plan is to avoid, but if once a week, we eat meat, it’s within our goal. One of the reasons we are doing this, is because a lot of meat is not really good for you. We’re really going to try to be healthy and take care of our bodies. It’ll almost be like a cleansing for us. One thing I’m also going to do for Lent is to donate. Whether it be time, clothing, food, etc, I’m going to donate so that others less fortunate may have.
A lot of people ask what are the ashes for? The ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the olden days, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned, and wanted to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance.The ashes are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many Catholics leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility. Unfortunately, I was not able to get my ashes today. I had to work all day, followed by school. Tommy and I tried to go to 2 different churches tonight after my class, but both church parking lots were completely packed and there wasn’t anywhere else to park. The roads still aren’t plowed well enough. The snow banks are ridiculous, some are piled twice a car’s height high! Unfortunately, there were others in the same boat as us as they too were circling around or just turning around and going home. Fortunately, when I got home, I was a bit relieved to find that Ash Wednesday is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation. Holy Days of Obligation for Catholics, are the days that all practicing Catholics must attend church. Days like Easter and Christmas, as well as the Immaculate Conception are some of the Holy Days.
Lent is a good time to reflect on life and how you can become closer to God. It’s so easy to in our society to forget to pray. Some people only pray when they need something. We’re too busy to pray. My plan is to not be to busy to pray. At night when all is calm, I try to pray and relax my mind. What will you take this time to reflect on? What are you giving up for Lent?