Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday marked the official begining of Lent in the Church. As you might expect it was duly noted in the seminary. In keeping with the Church's tradition we observed Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting and abstinence from meat. Being someone who likes to eat a lot, I was rather hungry and cranky for the most of the day. In keeping with the spirit of Lent, we try to especially observe simplicity and to make sacrafices throughout the 40 days to follow. Practically speaking this transformation takes several forms. Of course on Fridays we don't eat meat, but we also begin our prayers each day with a simple hymn song without the usual musical accompanient. The chapel has been striped of all decorations, flowers, etc.... and is very bare. All of this is meant to remind us of the need to focus our lives on the Cross and to turn away from the many distractions of life. As part of my Lenten goals this year I will be avoiding sweets in the dining room, giving up television, as well as walking each day, spending extra time in the chapel and making more frequent use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I will keep you all up to date on my progress.

One of the wonderful things we did on Wednesday afternoon was to pray the stations of the cross. Normally my mind tends to wander after a few minutes with such prayers, however this year I was able to really focus and correspondingly found great beauty in them. I am looking forward to reciting them each Wednesday afternoon for the next several weeks and hope that some of you all might do the same wherever you are.

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