Ash Wednesday is the first of 46 days of Lent. If you think Lent is something banks did with your money, relax. I’m going to the you what you should know about the Celebration of Lent
On this Day the Catholic priest will put sacramental ash on believer’s forehead in the form of the cross, and speak those words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
What — Mormons don’t do this? Well, maybe we should.
Some Mormons have bemoaned the absence of an LDS liturgical calendar and still others have suggested possibly starting individual traditions in our homes of seasonal times of repentance and remembrance. I’ve also read arguments suggesting that our weekly sacrament meetings — and monthly fasts — serve this same purpose.
But I admit that I am still drawn to the Catholic practice of Lent. I love the idea of a time of contrition and sacrifice, with the Lent semi-fast being a fine way of performing a self-evaluation and engaging in some self-denial as part of preparing ourselves for the day of redemption.
The three practices of Lent – prayer, fasting and charity (almsgiving) – are wonderful practices to be observed year-round, to be sure, but associating them specifically with Easter and having them come around in their season has a naturality to it that I deeply respect.
Giving it up for Lent
Having lived and worked in the Middle East for 20 years I was impressed by the way Muslims fast for 30 days (that is till I realized that they stayed up whole night eating). But still it was impressive. I must admit, deep down, that I am also attracted to Lent. Why is this so?
This might be because by considering traditional Lent we might appreciate our own Easter a little more and come more quickly to be reconciled to Christ. Observing Lents might make us appreciate the Sacrifice Our Father in Heaven made for us. A sacrifice that His ONLY begotten SON was ready to make to SAVE us.
The very thought humbles me. In this changing world the only love that is steadfast is Jesus (unless you are blessed with a husband like mine). In my opinion if all Christians around the world were to fast 1 day, just ONE day during Lent and spent that time reading the Bible or praying the world will change. We will be better human beings and might love one another more.
I leave you with the last stanza of T.S. Eliot’s masterpiece
Although I do not hope to turn again
Though I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn
Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dream-crossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savor of the sandy earth
This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.
Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.
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What do you think of observing Lent? Do you have Lent or something like it in your religion? Please feel free to comment.