Sorry, I had to make the above image Widescreen, as the monkster is a movie geek as well as a geek o' music.
Today begins the Lenten season, and I first want to ask all my non-Catholic readers to look at the ash marked foreheads of your Catholic friends and co-workers with love,reverence, and respect. I still have the image of a young office worker with tears streaming down her face, after she was openly mocked at her "tolerant" DC government job, all because of the cross of ashes she wore.
That said, today, Ash Wednesday, begins Lent, the 40 days of fasting, alms giving and prayer; that lead us to the Easter Season. Everyone has heard someone say "I am giving up ------ for Lent", whether or not you actually knew what that exactly means.
For Catholics, the Forty Days represent the time our Savior spent in the wilderness. Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and so we take this time of fasting to reflect, and in part experience, the sacrifice of Christ.
Our fasting should partly be a time of mortification - a means of curing bad habits and implanting good ones - bad habits that take us away from God to good ones where we experience Him more (prayer, charity work, daily readings,etc.). This truly is an important thing, that of replacing the act we are giving up, with something more beneficial.
O.K., Monkster, enough of the theology lesson, inquiring minds want to know what your are going to give up?
Well I'm glad you asked, although ya may have figured out from my headline, that yes, I will not be watching any TV until Easter. I have piled a list of (mostly) spiritual books to read over the next two months, as well as determining to pray a complete Rosary every night.
Last year I gave up music, and for anyone who knows me, it was not easy. I did learn soooo much in that time, as I substituted music for lectures/spoken word/audio books. It was during this time that I first heard of Father Larry Richards, from a couple of free CDs I received from the Mary Foundation. I received a letter from him today, and thought I would include a part as I think you'll agree, it is rather fitting.
"Most people give up something they like. You know, chocolate, soft drinks, etc. And that is OK, but not enough. I think I can hear Jesus sometimes saying, "I gave up My life for them and they give up chocolate for Me!" When it comes to fasting, we need to look at what our sins are, and then give up something that will help us deal with those sins. For instance, let's say that we are lazy and that we waste a lot of time watching TV instead of doing what we need to be doing. Then give up TV! You get the picture. Fasting should help us to die to self and sin so we can live more fully for God and others".
I love that man!, and only hope one day to be half as Godly as he. Please pray for Father Larry, please pray for me, and ya know, really just pray for everyone and anyone, as we prepare for the celebration of our Lord's Passion.
Oh yeah, God made you special, and loves you very much!