Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday Confidential

Happy Ash Wednesday! Er. Well. You know what I mean. :)

I'm gearing up for our evening Ash Wednesday Mass, so my posting time is limited. I thought that rather than post some would-be profound meditation on our entry into this solemn season, I'd open up the comment box (though moderation will be spotty until after Mass) for people to share their thoughts about three Lenten questions. And because these questions might invite some to share more than they otherwise would, I'm lifting, for this post, the requirement to post using a name or nickname--feel free to post anonymously on this one if you choose.

So, here are the questions:

1. What do you see as one obstacle--not necessarily the biggest, but just any one--that is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus Christ?

2. What bad habit (not necessarily something hugely sinful) do you most hope to conquer this Lent?

3. What part of Lent will help you grow closer to Christ and conquer that bad habit? What part of Lent, if any, tends to make things harder?

I obviously can't answer these anonymously, but I'll post my answers anyway:

1. The tendency to take Him for granted and to put certain things--prayer, etc.--on "autopilot" for too long. It's not that I'm not doing anything, but that I start doing those things by rote instead of with consciousness.

2. Selfishness, especially in my eating and sleeping habits when these impact my ability to do for others generously.

3. The opportunity to make voluntary sacrifices that I can "tailor" to addressing my personal issues is helpful. The temptation to feel guilty if I can't do all the wonderful things people recommend or which are available (extra Masses, Friday Stations, or even the private devotions people are enthusiastic about) is not so helpful. And fasting--can I just say that I still don't really "get" it? Maybe it's because my eating habits are too casual (see #2) but my experience the last few years has been that the Ash Wed. and Good Friday fasts make me more aware of, and stressed out by, food, eating, etc. than normal, and not because I'm famished or anything (I sometimes go on this amount of food or less just because I'm too busy to deal with eating). That can't be right, but...?

Okay. Your turn. Comments will be approved for the next hour or so, and then again later tonight.


Turmarion said...

1. The tendency to give up too easily; which could be defined in terms of a lack of hope (in the theological sense) or in terms of acedia, always a besetting sin for me.

2. Putting things off/letting them slide.

3. a) (You should have given sub-headings here, Erin!) Lent itself. By requiring us to give up things and do things, Lent provides the necessary boot to the behind that a slothful type such as I am needs. b) The flip side of a--that it's mandated can make it into an outward observance. There have been years when I've given up the same thing I did the previous year or decided to add the same devotions because I couldn't think of anything else. Instead of using Lent for introspection and growth, I just coasted.

We posters here don't always agree with Erin or with each other, but I offer my prayers to all during Lent, and humbly request the same. May it be a season of growth and goodness for us all.

JMB said...

My obstacle is my snobbishness about the liturgy, the congregation, the priests, the homily, the music. Basically, it's my inner mean teen coming out during Mass.

I'm trying to tame my physical desires, so I will be fasting during lunch every day - I will eat half of what I normally eat, no sweets afterwards. I find this to be more difficult than going to daily Mass every day and adding some rosary time on Fridays.

Believe it or not, the physical aspect of Lent has been very fruitful for me in the past years. I've been able to give up smoking for good, and it all started with abstaining during Lent. I'm also pushing myself harder with accepting physical discomfort in my life by making a commitment to exercise every week. This has helped tremendously in accepting my body as not just something that embodies my soul but as something real and physical and strong.