Today is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. Lent is the time of preparation for Holy Week, leading up to Easter. Lent is a time of soul-searching and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection on Good Friday and Easter. For many, it is a time to give up something like candy or smoking. Lent is a period of 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. The six Sundays are excluded from Lent in order to give people a time to pause and rejuvenate, gathering new strength. It is supposedly a "free" day. Some people will indulge in whatever it is they gave up.
Although Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, many Catholics treat it as one and would not think of missing having their foreheads marked with the sign of a cross, this symbolizes that the person belongs to Jesus Christ, who died on a Cross. The ashes are made by burning palm fronds which have been saved from the previous year's Palm Sunday, they are then blessed by a priest.
I have a hard time trying to come up with something to give up. I did chocolate one year and almost killed two people. I gave up meat one year, but that really wasn't a good one because I am really not a big meat eater to begin with. I gave up cussing one year and if I did cuss I had to put $.25 or $.50 in a jar. My co-workers did it with me and we raised over $70.00 for the Church! I thought about giving up alcohol, but then I remembered the chocolate incidents.
I have decided to "do" things for Lent. Here is a list of some of the things I have come up with:
Give someone a hug.
Buy flowers for someone else.
Sit still and do nothing for 10 minutes a day.
Learn something new.
Pick out one weakness and work to change it.
Say thank you at least once a day.
Find a dream inside yourself and follow it.
Go beyond where you are.
Volunteer one hour a week. (I did this last year and loved it!)
Keep a personal journal.
Go to Confession.
Pray the Rosary.
Find something you believe in and act on it.
Be more patient.
Be less judgmental.
Clean out your closet and donate what you don't need or use.
Tell someone you love them.
Say hello to people you usually ignore.
Do something for a stranger.
Thank God for something you usually take for granted.
I hope you choose one or more from the list and do it today too!