Today is Ash Wednesday. You know what that means, it means that my children are trying to figure out something that they can give up for Lent that will not be too painful for them.
Hope always goes for the big thing. One year she gave up the television. Another year she gave up her radio. Then there was the year where we all had to live with her as she gave up mashed potatoes... that was a dark dark Lent. But I am proud of Hope as she never picks the easy road. She goes for the throat and survives. I think this year she decided to give up email... pfffft. I could never do that. She is already a better person than me at the young age of 14.
Aaron is not as strong willed as Hope. He gives things up like, looking at his baseball cards (that he can't find) or not wearing his favorite pair of black socks (that he left down at the creek when he took them off). He is also very good at "forgetting" or "changing his mind" midstream into Lent. If he gives up video games this week (because he is grounded from them due to his tackle/pushing of one or all of his sisters) he will change his mind next week when the ban on the Wii is lifted and he just can't take the temptation. He is a week-to-week kind of guy. I tried to convince him to give up staring at the little blonde girl that sits across from him in school, but he just turned red and called me "weird."
I think last year was the first year that Emma took on this sacrifice in the name of God. She gave up sleeping with socks on. Her toes thanked her. This year she is having such a hard time deciding... she is thinking about giving up meat except for chicken (uhm, we don't eat meat) or watching TV after school (Emma can care less about TV because she is too busy coloring and cutting little pieces of paper that end up all over my kitchen floor each day). I suggested she give up picking her nose and eating her boogies. She thought about it for a second and decided against it.
I will give up my usual... shopping at Target. Don't laugh. That is a HUGE sacrifice. Like today for instance, I need to get milk and I need some CDs so that I can burn some more songs to play in my van... but I can't go to Target so WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? I will eventually convince myself that I don't need the CDs and I will buy the milk at the little grocery store across the street that I don't like to go to because I can't also pick up a book, some underpants for Emma, a light bulb, some glue, my conditioner, and a toy for that kid who is having a birthday party next week.
I always hear adults say "I am not giving anything up, this year... I am going to DO something."
Hmmmm... do something? What I wonder.
Are they going to volunteer at a soup kitchen? Possibly. Are they going to donate non-perishable items to the food pantry? Maybe. Are they going to give all of their clothes away and their worldly possessions and follow Christ? That may be pushing it.
Wow... give up my worldly possessions and follow Christ. Does that include my iPod?
What I wouldn't give to have the faith to do such a thing. To have the faith to resist temptation and truly live in the light of Christ. I mean, I know that God does not expect me to give away everything I have in search of Him, no, he just wants me to give up my dependence on worldly things and depend on Him.
Hmmmm... how is that for an Ash Wednesday reflection? Who or what do you depend upon? And if it is not Jesus, honestly, how it is working out for ya?
Do you see over there on my sidebar the Mass readings? Now, I know not everyone who comes to the Six-Pack is a Cat-lic, and just the other day my own mother-the woman who gave birth to me-asked me if I was still considered a Catholic Blog... and I said "MA! Catholics sin too ya know." and she said "Yes, but do you have to try so damn hard?" and then I pointed out to her that she was sinning because she was telling me I was sinning and she said she was not pointing out to me that I was sinning and she was just guiding me which is her job in this lifetime to help me get to Heaven and then I said, "Ya, well you said damn" and she said "I can say a lot more to you Cristin Ann (I knew I was in trouble when she used my full name) but I won't because I don't want to sin."
Oh that woman!
Anyway-I am thinking that 99% of yous are Christians, so do you see the readings over there on the sidebar? Maybe we can made a pact to click on those everyday and actually read them. Maybe we can decide to let the words fill us, to help us give up our dependence on worldly matters and depend on God this Lent.
"Praise the Holy Spirit, Who leads us into the desert with the Son to find the Father."
*Update From Aunt Barb (to good to leave hidden in the comments):
The ashes are an outwward sign that we are to: Remember man, that thou are dust and to dust you will return.It doesn't have anything to do with the scripture about not showing that you are fasting...The sacrifice of giving up something for lent (be chocolate or pizza)is an excerise in will power. We increase our will power by making these sacrifices and that will give us the charged up will power needed when we are tempted to sin.Eating chocolate is not a sin, but the will power it takes to not eat it during lent let's us know that we have the will power to overcome temptation. I've often thought that all the things I gave up during lent, as a child, gave me the ability to overcome alot of temptations that came my way as an adult. And I am happy that I had all those years of will power practice. So pick something, give it up for lent and super charge your will power!It's a good thing!