Ash Wednesday

Things I learned/was reminded of from an online article in the Catholic Herald by Kelley Kepler interviewing Fr. Gabriel Baltes:

– The symbol of ashes dates back to ancient times when they were sprinkled on persons engaging in penance.
– The number 40 has biblical significance. In the story of
Noah’s ark, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses journeyed with
the Israelites for a period of 40 days in the desert. Jesus later spent
40 days in the desert where he resisted sin.
– Lent means “springtime.” Weather permitting, people view spring as a
time of growth, a period when new life emerges from the deathlike state
of winter. Hence the name, this theme of death and rebirth plays a
vital role in the Lenten journey.
– “Fasting is a way to heighten the senses because being hungry can
make one more alert,” Baltes said. When people ate nothing the two or
three days leading up to Easter, chances are they would be very alert
during the Easter celebration. Baltes said fasting is needed to prepare for a feast. “There’s not
a feast without a fast,” he said. “You can’t truly appreciate something
until you give it up.” The practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays may have grown out of
respect for the day Jesus was sacrificed. We remember his death by not
eating flesh on Fridays, Baltes said.

…”You can’t truly
appreciate something
until you give it up.” This hit home when I read Fr. Baltes’ words.
It’s not often when I choose to subject myself to self-deprevation for
the cause of a greater good…perhaps I should more often. It’s during
these times when giving up something that is relatively easy makes me
realize how many things in my life I can truly do without. Less is
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. ~ Matthew 5:6

And yet I have to realize it’s not about the thing(s) from which
I choose to abstain
these 40 days, it’s about a deeper awareness of what Christ Jesus has
already done for me – paid for my sins on Calvary.

Then he said to them
all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up
his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
~ Luke 9:23-24

Allowing my life to be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and
giving of myself and my heart today and every day (not
just 40 days before Good Friday once a year) is what I have been called
to do. So though not of the Catholic persuasion, this Protestant girl
is excited about the Lenten season we have now entered with Easter on
the horizon.


One thought on “Ash Wednesday

  1. Nice post. I like what you said about “giving of myself and my heart today and every day…” that’s something I constantly need to be reminded of. Also not of Catholic persuasion, I still think this time of Lent is a good practice of sacrificial awareness as we draw closer to Easter.

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