Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fat and Ashes

Coming up with a title for today's blog entry was pretty easy for me. After all, yesterday my family celebrated Fat Tuesday- also known as Shrove Tuesday and, of course, Mardi Gras. I found out from Josh that it's also known as Pancake Tuesday since Catholics used to fast not only from meat during Lent but also from fat, sugar and eggs. Today is the first day of the Lenten season, known as Ash Wednesday. It starts a 40-day time of penitential reflection, fasting and alms-giving before the Easter season. I won't go into how the dates are all figured out, but this year Lent is starting just about the latest it ever starts meaning Easteris also very late compared to usual as it is on April 24th (not soon enough- according to at least one of my children, for reasons that will be figured out by my readers over the next 40 days).I have tried to make sure my kids grew up in a house where they knew what the idea of Lent was, especially when they were younger. We used to do small things like charitable acts of service such as making cookies for someone or sending notes to people who normally wouldn't get any. As they got older, however, the Lenten season was not observed quite so much as the busy-ness of life took over as well as the priorities not being where they should. I would often find myself still having Christmas carols in my head when the kids would be wondering if they'd be getting new outfits for Easter.
Don't take me wrong, I love celebrating Good Friday, and the risen Savior on Easter Sunday morning with my family and friends~ I just have longed for it to be more... not just more stuff to do, but a whole encompassing deeper sense of "more". I realize that is probably going to confuse some of you (it kind of does me too), but it's that "more" that has drawn me and my family back and into the Catholic Church. This is why it is so exciting for me to be sitting in
front of this computer with a black smudge of ashes on my forehead while having just eaten a delicious meatless lunch of pasta with chickpeas & roasted tomato sauce. It's why the whole family got up on a Wednesday to go to 7:00a.m. Mass since David had to be at school & it would be the one time we could be together for Mass at St. Joseph's today.
It is also why we ate pancakes for lunch yesterday with our good friend Tania and stopped by
Roth's last night for one last run of sweets, soda and sour cream before the fasting began in earnest today. It is why Josh didn't come home for a full 10 days for Spring Break but instead will be here during the Easter Tridium for a mere 5 days in April.

It is why I am excited to start my Lenten reading of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's, Life of Christ. This is the "more" of which I am writing. May Christ help you come into "more" this Lenten season.

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