12 February 2013

Ash Wednesday

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the season during which we prepare for Easter.

I am a little sad.

Tomorrow I won't be able to go to Ash Wednesday Mass. I am working and it's on during school time. School Masses are just beautiful. The church is packed, the kids are wonderful and the sound of their voices singing in unison is angelic. Now that we no longer have a Parish Priest, just one who comes and says Mass on weekends, we don't often have school Masses. Plenty of liturgies which are also lovely, but not Mass.

This year is also the first time in four years I won't have joined a lenten preparation prayer group. For the past three Lents, a group of us mums with young kids would get together once a week during Lent. The kids would play together and we would pray together, working our way through the Parish's lenten preparation program. It felt so ... healing ... to have time to sit together and just reflect on different topics, different ideas. I learned so much from those women and from myself. We're not doing it this year. I'm working more now. One of my dear friends from the group has moved away. I miss her.

But, this is a new chapter. Those stay-at-home mum days are still with me some of the time, just not all of the time. I can still prepare for Easter in my own way.

I used to give up chocolate and alcohol. But now I want to do things to try to be a better person - to improve rather than to sacrifice. Last year I tried giving up yelling at the kids. By 11am on Ash Wednesday I was trying again. And again the next day. But I tried. Quite a few times...

There's something in the bible, I can't remember the reference, but the gist is that you shouldn't go on about giving up stuff - you should be doing it to please God, not to show the people around you how holy you are. But I don't think there's any harm in telling you that this Lent I'm going to try harder at being kind - to my children, to my husband, to my extended family, friends and myself. Maybe in making an extra special effort during Lent, I can turn it into a natural, habitual way of living from Easter onwards.

7 comments:

  1. I made pancakes with my class today for Shrove Tuesday. Tomorrow we are holding a liturgy for Ash Wednesday and starting our Lent Calendar - where each day we pick out a good deed to do each day.

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    1. A Lent Calendar is a wonderful idea :-)

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  2. Good on you Francesca! I would find it very hard to do that but I admire those that do. Emily

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  3. Our household is not religious, not practicing anyway, but I sometimes wish I would so I could say "I'm giving up my computer for lent!" I know I spend (waste?) so much time on here and I think of all the things I could otherwise be doing with that time! I hope being kinder becomes a natural habit after the next 40 days. -Aroha #teamIBOT

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  4. Beautiful Francesca. I've never celebrated lent, because my church is very charismatic. I think that's a pity in a way, because we miss so much. You've inspired me to look for an online devotional or something similar. xx

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  5. I'm charasmatic also, but I went to a Catholic high school for a few years, and always appreciated the significance of Lent and how it can help enhance your relationship with God. Last year I gave up chocolate. Gosh it was hard. This year I thought about doing a facebook fast, but instead, like you, I decided to make improvements to life in general rather than just sacrifice, so I am trying to limit my online time so it is not at the expense of my family or randomnly wasting precious time. I'm not sure you well I'm going today, thanks for the reminder! Think I'll get offline and go get dinner organised so it's not a rush later tonight. Oh, and not yelling at kids. That would be a challenge for me, but so very wortwhile for all of us...

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  6. We missed you on Ash Wednesday. It wasn't quite the same without little ones crawling everywhere. I agree in trying to DO something rather than NOT DO. Maybe because I'm too scared to give up chocolate but also because I really think that doing something good is much more likely to be continued once Lent is behind us.

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