Lent – Don’t just give up – Give more

indexWhat a beautiful site I saw as I took the kids to day care this morning. I thought to myself thank you God – thank you for the real life picture, thank you for the conversation with my daughter. All I had to say was “Look at the beautiful sky Ali” next thing you know shes gushing about it’s wonders and beauty too. Thank you for the reminder God of how great you are – whoa – that’s a lot in one little picture.

Today is Ash Wednesday – the day where we go to church get the cross on our forehead and give something up – right? Well that’s how it appears. The ashes we receive on our forehead in the shape of a cross serve as a sign of our sinfulness and need for penance. The ashes also symbolize our mortality, a reminder that one day we will die and our bodies will return to dust. As we receive the ash the priest recites “Remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.”

I remember growing up and having friends ask why we do this whats the reason – I couldn’t give them a solid answer at the time as I’ve aged I’ve learn to understand the meaning. There’s one thing that continues to stick with me after the priest spoke to our religion kids last year leading up to lent. He spoke about ‘giving something up for life’ and ‘doing more’ give lent a bigger meaning. After reconciliation that night each kid’s penance was to do an act of kindness. That seems super simple however the kid’s had a very hard time coming up with examples of what they would do, or when we spoke about it the following week some had completely forgotten.  Saying 10 Hail Mary’s would have been easier.  Is it about how easy it is? That’s not how it works.

Several people give up chocolate, pop, watching TV, swearing etc. for Lent – I’m 100% guilty of this myself – when our priest spoke about giving these things up he would refer back to giving it up for life. What could you give up for life? It doesn’t seem so simple when you put it in those terms. What about giving more? Growing up I don’t remember talking about Lent being about giving more – maybe I wasn’t paying attention in religion – or was too young to care enough – honestly I’m not sure. When I think about what Jesus GAVE for us, what he sacrificed for us it makes you sit back and reflect about your Lenten promises and what you want to GIVE… or give up for life. “Remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.”

God Bless – Christy