Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2 Suggestions for Lent This Year


This morning I was approached by a kind stranger who wanted to let me know that I had a smudge of dirt on my face. I had to chuckle a little and explained that it is Ash Wednesday in the Catholic Church and the smudge - which should ideally look like a cross - is intentional.

Side note: I also expressed deep appreciation for his willingness to point it out because there have been many times that I have had something on my face or food in my teeth and no one has let me know. If you see someone with green in their teeth, tell them! I promise they'll appreciate it.

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Today marks the beginning of the Lent-Easter season in the Roman Catholic Tradition. For the next 40 days (Sundays excluded) Catholics around the world enter into a time of preparation to enter more fully into the mystery of the resurrection of Christ. You may be familiar with friends giving up meat on Fridays and other types of food or drink. Maybe you know someone who has started to go to mass more regularly or is trying to more intentionally avoid gossip.

Whatever someone decides to "give up" or "add in" to their daily routine during Lent is done so in order to strengthen their personal relationship with the Divine. It's not to see who can give up the most extravagant item, or who can add the most prayer into their days. Lent is personal. It's an intimate part of one's spiritual journey.

If you are planning to partake in a Lenten observance this year, I suggest 2 things.

1. When you decide on how you will observe Lent this year, think deeply about how that particular act will affect your relationship with God. If you can't find a connection, maybe think of something else you can choose to do.

2. Don't compare your Lenten sacrifice with someone else's. Don't feel inadequate because you don't have the flexibility in your schedule to add an hour more of prayer to your day. And on the flip side, don't assume that someone else is taking the easy route by doing something that to you may seem superficial. Again, this is not a competition.
There's so much more that I could share about Lent and Ash Wednesday and the history of this time in Catholicism (especially after my class this morning on the Lenten-Easter season). It's a beautiful time in the church filled with rich tradition and symbolism. 

If anyone has specific questions I would love to answer them. I am always so appreciative of people from other faith traditions who let me ask questions and I'd love to provide that space for anyone who wants it. And if I don't know the answer, I have a school filled with professors and at least one of them will ;)

Peace,
Sarah

**Linking up with Blessed Is She and the #BISSisterhood

8 comments:

  1. Hi Sarah!
    Beautiful and inspiring post! Happy I found you and your lovely blog :)
    Oh, BTW I found you via the peony project.Have a great day!

    Aldy.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading, Aldy! I love the friendships formed through the Peony Project!
      Peace, Sarah

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  2. I love this. I'm not Catholic, but I've observed Lent for the past couple years. I don't go to mass or do anything special for Ash Wednesday, I just use these 40 days to refocus myself on what's important: God. This year when I was trying to come up with something to give up, I kept making excuses and then I realized I was doing it all for the wrong reasons. So I took a step back and finally decided on the things in the post I wrote yesterday (http://www.charlenemaugeri.com/2016/02/my-plans-for-lent-this-year.html). I already feel so refreshed. It's amazing how fasting can do that.

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    1. That's such a beautiful practice, Charlene. I hope your Lenten journey is full of grace!
      Peace, Sarah

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  3. I am not Catholic nor do I take part in lent but I think the meaning behind it is something we can all take into count.
    - Amanda Shuman | www.carrylovedesigns.com

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    1. Yes! So very true, Amanda. Thanks for reading!
      Peace, Sarah

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  4. I love your thoughts on lent. I'm not Catholic, but I grew up in the Catholic church and love the many traditions such as advent and lent that many other Christian traditions are now taking on to build more tradition. I think it is so important to just pause in our busy lives and spend time refocusing. That is what lent will be about for me. I love the tips you've provided, too!

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    1. Beautifully put, Desirae! It's so hard to take a step back and just be nowadays. I hope you find joy and grace in the beautiful stillness of God this Lent.
      Peace, Sarah

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