Lenten Requirements

Lent, and especially Ash Wednesday, is such an interesting thing in this era of social media and technology.

Back when I was young, Ash Wednesday was a big deal to us because, well, we are Catholic AND we went to Catholic school.  Other than McDonald’s offering fish sandwiches on the menu, the rest of the world didn’t seem too clued in to what we over in our Alabama 1% Catholic community were doing.

When we would show up places after school, we were looked at funny or asked what was on our head.  I don’t even really remember there being a lot of Ash Wednesday services at all the Protestant churches like there seem to be today.

Lent-pixBut, now, social media is exploding with reminders of the beginning of Lent and Ash Wednesday.  The hashtag #AshTag is trending on Twitter.  There’s blogs upon blogs upon blogs suggesting ways to make the most of your Lenten season.  There’s Instagrams left and right of people’s ashy foreheads (guilty!).  There are even a few new and very cool apps out there that are specifically for meditation and reminders to pray daily and not to eat meat on Fridays during Lent.

It’s an incredibly interesting time to live.
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The Converted Person

A small excerpt from the book Show me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri J.M. Nouwen that really spoke to me.  Emphasis added.  I hope you enjoy.

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“The converted person does not say that nothing matters any more, but that everything that IS happens in God and that God is the dwelling place where we come to know the true order of things.  Instead of saying: ‘Nothing matters any more, since I know that God exists,’ the converted person says: ‘All is now clothed in divine light and therefore nothing can be unimportant.’  Converted persons see, hear, and understand with a divine eye, a divine ear, a divine heart.  Converted persons know themselves and all the world in God.  Converted persons are where God is, and from that place everything matters: giving water, clothing the naked, working for a new world order, saying a prayer, smiling at a child, reading a book, and sleeping in peace.

All has become different while all remains the same.”