It’s here! It’s finally happened! Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day are the same day! Long have I awaited this occurrence! Sure, it’s cynical and probably evil of me to do so, but having never been a fan of the overwhelming mushiness of St. Valentine’s, I longed for the year that would see Ash Wednesday trump it. And it’s here! Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, baby!
To help with the mood, we have a fine collection of Ash Wednesday/St. Valentine’s Day cards courtesy of Jason Bach Cartoons. It’s a perfect addition for the day when you want to celebrate love but have to remember your inevitable demise, too.
Last week was Ash Wednesday, and I got ashes for the first time in a long time. It’s been several years since I did anything special for Ash Wednesday, so I’d forgotten precisely how it felt to have the Sign of the Cross traced on my forehead in ash. I felt…proud. I was happy to be carrying that ash on my face. I was glad to know that everyone I encountered that day would know what I believed and that I thought it was important to get to church that day. It was nice to have a visible statement of my Faith. Granted, I always try to live out the Faith in regular, everyday life, no special ashes required, but having a visible statement for just one day felt good.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Lent is upon us once again–funny how that works. It’s weird; before Lent begins, I’m all, “Nooooo, I’m not ready!” but when it’s actually here, it’s no big deal.
“…et in pulverem reverteris.” Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return–a sobering reflection, yes, but important as we enter the Lenten season. I’ll be honest; I loathed Lent when I was younger, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see its usefulness. The saying about dust reminds us that, hey, we’re not going to be around forever, and we really should decide where we want to spend the afterlife. How does Lent accomplish that?
Lent helps us to better control our wills and desires, to say “no” to something we really, really want. By strengthening control of our wills this way, we are better equipped to conform them the way we want…the way to follow Christ. But how does sacrificing that luscious chocolate doughnut covered in sprinkles help us follow Christ? It’s just a little doughnut; what difference does it make? Well, by saying “no” to little things, we get practice saying “no” to big things–it works like exercise; we start with smaller exercises first and work our way up to the more strenuous movements. So may you have beneficial exercising this Lent.
The tabernacle’s empty! And because the tabernacle’s empty, the entire church feels empty, and it’s depressing. Yes, yes, I know; it’s Good Friday; we’re supposed to be depressed today, but to see the door just standing open with nothing and no One inside…it’s tough. It makes you crabby, and it makes you want to cry, and all you do is sit in the back of the church and depressingly mull over the fact that Jesus isn’t in there like He’s supposed to be. Yes, God is everwhere, so technically Jesus is still in the church, but it’s not the same thing at all.
It’s a good thing that Good Friday comes only once a year. I don’t think I could handle an empty tabernacle more times.
I found this video some years ago and found it interesting. As it is quite appropos for the Triduum, I’m posting it here.
Yes, yes, I know, Lent started on Wednesday, but somehow I managed to forget to post about it. I also didn’t post for St. Valentine’s Day, but that’s just because I honestly didn’t have anything to say about it (although I did get ideas for next year. Be afraid. Be very afraid).
Anywho, with Lent upon us, it’s one of the best times of year to honestly assess your lifelong journey towards Heaven. By taking a step back and examing what you really do, sometimes you surprise yourself. And sometimes you make the right changes to get yourself back on track. Sometimes we fail, but we get right back up. That’s life for us humans for you; we fail miserably, but we get right back up and try to get it right the next time.
Also, as you prepare yourselves for Our Lord’s Passion, Death, and triumphant Resurrection, don’t forget to pray for our current and future Pope.