Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

A friend mentioned that as a former Catholic, she never knew exactly why she gave up things for Lent. She said that no one ever explained the reasoning behind having to give up particular foods, habits, etc. Of course she found it a dull, dry and hollow tradition. I paused and had to remember the reasons behind the whole "giving something up" for Lent in my Catholic tradition. At times it feels hard to explain, but once reminded, I am grateful for a time in the year where my habits are challenged...and challenged for a really, really good reason.

One of the best ways to begin Lent is with the Holy Father’s message:

From what I have said thus far, it seems abundantly clear that fasting represents an important ascetical practice, a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves. Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person. Quite opportunely, an ancient hymn of the Lenten liturgy exhorts: “Utamur ergo parcius, / verbis cibis et potibus, / somno, iocis et arctius / perstemus in custodia – Let us use sparingly words, food and drink, sleep and amusements. May we be more alert in the custody of our senses.”

May we all find freedom from our human desires and seek God in all that we say and do this Lent.

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