Everyone is talking about what they are giving up for Lent and what Lent means - in fact there was an entire segment about giving up stuff for Lent on local news last night. And here I am talking about it. (Priests should talk about it however.)
The Catholic blogs are full of commentary about giving this or that up, providing guides on what to do on top of our private penance, such as adding extra prayers, daily Mass, multiplying works of charity and alms and making sacrifices for our nation, the bishops, priests, etc.. Innumerable good ideas for taking on this new project we call Lent. Not to mention bitching about this or that person's observance and practice - or lack there of. Do you leave your ashes on, or wipe them off? Do you even get ashes? Should political candidates wear them for the debate? Can my cat get ashes? Will cigarette ashes do?
I wonder how many of us forget that Lent is about repentance? And that Ash Wednesday reminds us of the vanity and brevity of life... to make us know the shortness of our life? Just think, some of us may not even be alive at the end of the day or tomorrow morning. Think about that. We can't wait for some leisure time to repent. Ash Wednesday announces, today is the day. Repent.
Not to worry if we don't get it on the first day however. It should dawn on us sooner or later. Perhaps, as is often the case with many of us - when we fail in the project of Lent (as in not keeping our resolutions) - then we will finally come to realize the awful truth; our need to repent.
Ash Wednesday and Lent is about repentance - personal repentance and conversion - at least for me.
"Let us correct our faults which we have committed in ignorance, let us not be taken unawares by the day of our death, looking in vain for leisure to repent." - Ash Wednesday Responsory.
Photo: Ricky and Newter. Will they wear ashes on TV? Who the hell cares. I forgot to insert smiley face! :)