Ash Wednesday 2012

Feb 22, 2012

Today is Ash Wednesday. Some years I make it to church to receive ashes, some years I don’t. This year I made it.

I can never decide if I appreciate ritual and tradition because I grew up with it or if I would have missed it had I not been surrounded by it. I think there is something about our beings that likes some sort of structure; it’s fall so the leaves are off the trees, it’s spring there are blossoms beginning to bloom.
For me the Lent Season, the 40 days before Easter, provide me with a time for reflection and even some positive redirection. It’s a time for being mindful, and thankful, for what I have.
I went to St. Elizabeth of Hungary’s school mass this morning. I like to go to children’s masses because often the messages shared by adults and children are to the point. The embroidery and gelt is not at the core of what’s being shared.
I wasn’t disappointed. The students from St. Elizabeth were there and were being instructed in the meaning of Lent – a bit of an introduction on discipline and self denial. The allegorical tale was about an athlete prepping for the Olympics. The long and the short of the interaction was focused on what do he or she needed to do to be best prepared.

{Priest – So what do you think that he or she needs to do to be ready?
Child 1 – Practice. Child 2 – Learn the skills they need. Child 3 – Eat a good breakfast because they’re going to be burning a lot of calories.
Priest – Do you think they go out and party?
2nd Grader/8th Grader – No/Yes.
Priest – Nope, because if they did all they time they’d be whacked. }
Whacked. Did he say whacked? Yes, he did.
And in that comment I heard a practical approach to Lent put in a nutshell. Sometimes you do without so that you can achieve a particular goal.
I think that’s what all of the Lenten Season is for me: getting ready for a particular goal. Pretty personal.
The image here is personal, too. It’s a black and white image I copied and then colored with chalk. I call her Nuestra Señora de la Selva/ Our Lady of the Jungle. That isn’t really her role or her name, but seeing her, in her apron, among the green that I imagine she has grown, she gives me a sense of comfort, a sense of place, and a sense of going home.

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