Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Years ago, after school on Ash Wednesday, a group of my friends and I would head to Mass with our families for the distribution of ashes. We'd proudly wear our ashes on our foreheads until it was time to go to bed at night. In fact, I remember sneaking to bed several times without washing them off.

But times have sadly changed as far as Ash Wednesday goes. Today I could not take all of my children to Mass because there was a math meet, an obligation my daughter had due to her Honors math course. Years ago, no one would think to schedule a school event on the first day of Lent. But gone are the days when school is let out early on days like today. And sadly, there are few school children even recognizing the start of Lent, let alone heading to Mass to have ashes placed upon their foreheads.

What are you doing for Lent?, Father Paul asked us at Mass today. He encouraged everyone in attendance to ask one another. My son smiled up at me, raised his eyebrows, and whispered the question to me smirking as we'd just had this conversation a few minutes earlier on the ride to church. I had told him I was going to read in my Daily Devotions book each day and that I was also going to take at least 10 minutes each day to go outside to either walk or to at least stare up at the sky. When he asked me why I was going to do this, I told him that I need to remind myself that there are more important things than what I am limited to seeing inside my home or workplace each day. I told him that I thought those 10 minutes spent outside each day would give me time to offer up a prayer or to perhaps listen to what I may be needing to hear...from nature or God Himself.

I have another Lenten sacrifice that I will keep to myself. But today at Mass I began asking God for the strength to honor that sacrificial pledge of mine. It will not be easy but nothing worth having ever is easy obtained. Unlike the ashes upon our foreheads tonight, my Lenten resolve will not easily wash away at the end of the day or fade into my pillow as I fall to sleep.

"Face your sins...track them down to the places they have hidden, drag them into the light, and with God’s help, drive them away". ---David Mills

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