Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In honor of Lent and in lieu of real content...

I give you one of my favorite Stephen Colbert clips. Someday, I'll update my blog, talk about blogs I like and read etc...

I've been marked.

Today is Ash Wednesday. Around where I live, it's pretty much a big enough deal that churches are full and just about everyone (except the tourists and a few others) walks around the streets with ashes on their foreheads. I guess I'm still pretty naive when it comes to other Christian faiths because in my own little world, I thought Catholics were the only ones who received ashes. I always figured like with a lot of things the Protestants "reformed" , ashes on Ash Wednesday was one of the things they got rid of but apparently that's not the case, as other faiths do it too. Growing up in Northern New Mexico most everyone I knew was Catholic, so they all got ashes, gave up something for Lent and didn't eat meat on Fridays or Ash Wednesday. That's my norm but the world is a whole lot bigger than my little piece of it.

I was in a funk for some unknown reason-- I suspect I do know why-- but I'll get over it. I almost didn't go to Mass today or get ashes. I just felt like going home. Fortunately, I did, it truly helped my mind, body, spirit. The church was packed-- which of course-- as the Monsignor said, was nice, but quite unusual. Oh yeah, it was Ash Wednesday, that's why. It was a nice Mass, his homily was quite poignant and I think gave a lot of people pause today. This Lent I really do want to take the time to reflect on my faith, what I can do to find myself closer to God, open to what's to come and maybe I'll learn something as well.

I really don't have much else to say, as I'm exhausted. I stayed up way too late watching the election results. Wild happenings in the political arena, huh? Perhaps after having time to decompress, I might add something else. I'm still trying to write up my Christmas Eve post. I did, however, find a post by Matt at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping that really made a lot of sense. And then Andrew Sullivan posted A Prayer for Ash Wednesday by Thomas Merton that, too made a lot of sense.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Where did Ordinary Time Go?

So even the days when I was a marginally practicing Catholic, honestly, more of a lapsed one, I still managed to recognize the importance of Lent. I'd give up something, usually nothing significant. Last year, mid-way through Lent I quit drinking Diet Cokes-- or buying them to bring home anyway. This year, I've been giving Lent some thought and am not quite sure what else I'll do besides give up "Starbucks". Since Christmas, I've pretty much have given up my daily fix because I was trying to give up caffeine for other, more private reasons which I won't discuss here, and so it won't be so hard, but I could easily spend 4 to 6 bucks every couple of days there, so after 40 days, that's a pretty good savings. I can buy the Tazo Chai to make my lattes at home. The money that I save by not going to Starbucks, I can put in savings and then donate it after Lent to something worthwhile. I could save it for myself, so I can learn to save money. It's not much, but it would be a good discipline for me.

Of course, I could save it to buy something special. I've been wanting a new rosary. It's not like I don't have one, I do. It is plastic, it glows in the dark and is hanging on my bed and has been since I was 16. I had one that belonged to my grandfather when I was a kid, but I don't recall what happened to it. I think it's in my mom's jewelry box. I had a plastic one that I got from school when I was about 12. It's long gone. I can't imagine throwing it away but it was misplaced long ago.

Growing up, we were a Church on Sunday kind of family and as I got older it became a less and less occurrence. We didn't do much beyond that. I went to a public elementary school, so the only CCD I had was just what was required for First Holy Communion. I had been confirmed as a young girl and didn't take any more religious education until I went to junior high and high school, when I went to a Catholic school. We never prayed the rosary, did Eucharistic Adoration or did any of the First Friday's sort of thing. The only time I ever pray the rosary is at funerals. We didn't eat fish on Fridays during Lent and it was hard for me because I hated fish growing up. We'd eat shellfish because I did like lobster and crab. ;-) Now, I love salmon and crave tuna, so it's not a problem. I can live without meat.

So this year, things are different. Yes, I want to give up something, Starbucks is altruistic enough for me to give up, but I also want to do something. I was going to make one of those New Year's Resolution posts, but I never did. And Ordinary Time was so short as Ash Wednesday falls this week, so I thought I'd just save it for Lent. I'd like to really learn to pray. I don't think it's an art or anything, but I just don't know how to do it. I know many prayers and I meditate and I guess talk to God but I don't think I really know how to pray or what should I pray for.

Maybe get more involved at my parish. Maybe take advantage of some of the opportunities to study and grow in my faith there. I haven't really figured out what. I guess, like with a lot of what I do, I don't like just being a face in the crowd. I want to get involved, maybe I'm ready for that. There's a singles thingy at the end of the month and I am mildly interested in going.

I don't know what I'm looking for right now. I don't know if I'll find it here/there/wherever but I'm searching for something.

I suppose in time I'll figure it out.