Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Call to Repent and Believe in the Gospel.

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!  :)


  1. Anonymous1:01 PM

    This Ash Wednesday is the first one in my life that I've actually looked forward to Lent with a sense of joy and real confidence that God loves me - and that that's what it's all about: repenting and converting so as to be united with God who loves me.

    I always thought Lent was dark and sad and, as you say, having failed at the project of Lent (and really in the project of self-perfection every other season of the year), I came to realize my need for God and how I want to live for Him and others and not myself anymore.

    Anyway, if anyone's interested, a Deacon James Keating offers (imho) a good reflection on Lent here:

  2. "Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pùlverem revertéris."

    If the priest says this (in LATIN) at the distribution of ashes, he isn't calling anyone a homo. :P

  3. Why are you so angry, Ter Bear?

    Lent *is* a project and I personally don't hold it against others who look at it that way. At least they're thinking about it and hopefully meditating on the deeper meaning & what the praxis is all about.

    As for sharing what one is doing for Lent: why not? On the one hand, I get your reasoning that we should not let the left hand know what the right is doing. But sharing what we're doing is also a way of encouraging one another. In my dysfunctional family, I may share w/siblings what I'm doing so they'll not tempt me in areas I'm trying to purify (eating out, imbibing alcohol, etc).

    Lighten up, dude.

  4. doughboy, what's wrong with eating out? Or are you just not trying to do it as much?

    Personally, I eat out quite a bit since my wife left me - I hate being at home, alone. Even though I'm usually by myself, there's something less lonely with lots of people around. Though it'd be nice to ever go on a date again, haha.

    I am given up all alcohol for Lent though, though I can't day it something I'm trying to "purify", since I don't intend to give it up forever - I just like beer and wine a lot, so renouncing it in penance for 40 days (even Sundays!) is an act of renunciation.

  5. DB: I came off angry in this post? "Oh, I must have said it wrong." As Lady Violet might add to that, "One never knows how one is going to be received in print by these sensitive types, does one."

    "All of this unbridled joy has given me an appetite."