As I have gotten older I have gained an appreciation for going to church on Ash Wednesday. There is something really purifying about the ashes used to apply a cross on your forehead. It is a calming, humbling ritual that really signifies the beginning of Lent and the sacrifies that it should entail.
Lent on the whole is a time that even as a child I held great interest in. It was always the time that I would see how far I could push myself spiritually. As you know it is a time that most people give something up. And I would give up the candies, the sweets, the fries and when I got older partying (teenager), then one lent it struck me that giving up those things wasn’t a big sacrifice for me, because I never really ate those things anyway and then I decided to give up meat for Lent. And that really hurt, because I was and I am still a person that doesn’t think I have eaten unless there is some form of meat, preferably chicken in my plate. And then the following year I upped the ante, by not only giving meat up for the entire 40 days I also decided to fast on Wednesday and Fridays. Saying a decade of the rosary whenever the hunger pangs hit. Eventually I didn’t feel hungry and I surely didn’t miss the meat.
Of course, it is not only about sacrifice it is about prayer. And I would find myself being most prayerful during lent.
I haven’t been really serious about the sacrifices for lent in recent years. I certainly haven’t fasted any at all because there was too much going in my life to not have food. But I think I am going to try it again. I am going to give meat up for the entire 40 days of lent and try at least once to fast one day from 7-6 and see if I can make it.
Because for me if I have had a good lenten season, then my spiritual year is even better!