Friday, February 19, 2010

"Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return."

Yesterday, we began the journey of the season of Lent. For those readers who may not be Catholic, you have probably seen Catholics walking around with dirt on their foreheads. You may have heard Catholics talking about what they are "giving up for Lent" and saying "it's Friday, I can't eat meat." Often, this is about all that the general public knows of Lent, and sadly, many Catholics don't know much more.

Lent is the the liturgical season that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday. This season is 40 days long (not counting Sundays when we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ), commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert (which reflected the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the desert). This season is a time of reflection, prayer, fasting, abstinence, and alms giving. It's an invitation to grow closer to Christ and prepare our hearts for Easter.

Ash Wednesday is a day that we particularly address the reality of sin and death. We stop to remember that we will leave this earth, it is not our home. On a very practical level, Lent is a time for us to examine our lives. It is a time for us to get our priorities straight and refocus on Our Lord. In a special way, we enter the desert with Christ during this season. We "give things up" in order to free our hearts for God.

This year, I'm giving up a habit that takes up much of my time each day. It is my hope to spend the time I will now have free focusing on God. Either reading spiritual books, the bible, praying, going to mass, etc. It is my intention this year to truly enter into the beauty of this season. To re-align my priorities and focus again on making each day focused on joining my will with My Lord. To remember that this Earth is not our Final Destination. And to remember, as we are reminded every year on Ash Wednesday that "we are dust, and to dust we will return."

“Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return.” Gen. 3:19