by Krista Stone (Guest contributor)
Ash Wednesday sneaked up on me. I’m not a practicing Catholic, yet there are so many things about the ways my Catholic family celebrates their faith that I am drawn to. There is much meaning in the walking out of the Catholic faith…The season of Lent is one of those.
I remember the first time I forgot what day it was and mentioned to that person “hey, you’ve got something on your forehead!” Only to be completely embarrassed once I realized it was Wednesday, that special Wednesday. The day to remember that I am mortal, and a time to repent and consider from whence I came.
While I was not able to visit any churches on Wednesday due to work (except my own in the evening), I saw a few people at work with that gray cross on their forehead…that gentle reminder that He is everything and I am nothing. I realized that the day had sneaked up on me again and suddenly realized I hadn’t prepared. Will I give anything up for Lent this year? Should I begin something meaningful instead of giving something up? What would it be, and would it be something truly worth something in my heart, so as to honor Christ’s sacrifice, and at the same time keep always at the forefront of my thoughts how much I depend on Him?
A few options ran through my mind, the first one immediately cast down. To be honest, I knew that one was “the one,” but I just didn’t want to give that up. I continued to think about what I could sacrifice that would be meaningful, and while the choices were good, they were not best. By evening’s end, I had decided. I have given this particular thing up before, with the Lord’s help, and my life has never been the same. I pray that He do an even greater work in me this year.
I read this week online that Biblically, 40 is the number of preparation. Reference: Jesus’ fast/time of testing, the number of days that rain poured upon the earth during the great flood, the years spent wandering in the wilderness before arriving at the Promised Land. I wonder, what will these 40 days prepare me for? Prepare me to be? Who will this time prepare me to love, and will I really love them? I wonder.
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, The Message