Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
This passage was from one of the readings on Ash Wednesday, which marked the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent has always been my favorite season of the Church year. Not because I'm a glutton for punishment. No. I love the somber attitude. The silence. And the discipline.
Even before I was Catholic I was drawn to this season. I am so grateful that I grew up in churches where lent is observed. All through my childhood, once a year I had ashes applied to my forehead in the sign of the cross, and for a moment or so thought about how I was nothing but dust. Humility is something that does not come easily for me. But that posture of humility feels so right to assume, because it is so true. Humility. Seeing God as He is and me as I am. And I am dust.
Discipline is another thing that does not come easily for me. So again, maybe a little surprising that Lent, when we are called to prayer, fasting and alms-giving, is my favorite season. I confess that the hardest of these for me is alms-giving. How do you do that on regular, normal, daily basis. Seriously, how do YOU do it? I want to know. But prayer and fasting happen here. It's hard, but the fruit of these disciplines is so good and comes so quickly making it so worth it.
We gave up TV. Alex and I always give up the same thing. Since we live in the same house and do many things together it just makes things easier. This is our second year giving up TV. Ash Wednesday rolls around and all of a sudden we become really interesting people. We talk more, we spend more time cooking, playing with Johnny, studying (in Alex's case), reading (in mine). We've been eating our meals at the table. This may sound like a no-brainer, but when you have Netflix and there's ALL the seasons of the West Wing and every other great show at your finger tips...well, let's just say most of our meals became TV dinners.
So now we sit and the table and we look each other in the eye. We're teaching Johnny to pray and converse.
We're building better habits.
We're becoming better.
|Picture from the first of what will hopefully|
many walks this spring.