What Lent means to me...

I realize this post is a little late, but I've been pretty busy.  For those of you who were not aware, this past week marked the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday.  Lent is supposed to be a time of reflection on the passion and death of Christ.  We don't eat meat on Fridays or snack in between meals and that semi-fasting is supposed to be a constant reminder of what Jesus did for us.  That's also why it is traditional for people to give up something for Lent, to resist something that they would normally have as a reminder of what Jesus did for us. Maybe it was just because I was younger and not as serious about what my faith meant to me, but it seemed that I was always treating Lent as more of a New Years resolution...doing something that purely bettered myself rather than anyone else.  No meat, no drinking, no sweets. Well, I'm not sure about other religions, but for Catholics, rather than given something up, you can do something extra.  Kind of a "What Would Jesus Do?" type of attitude.  Of course, it always comes up that you can donate more to the Church, and that's just not my preference. 

With all of this in mind, I am both giving up something and trying to DO more.  First of all, I honestly do not do this a lot, but I am going to try to avoid the gossip circle at work, I don't want to talk bad about people or even seem as though I agree with someone talking bad about someone.  I just don't think it's fair when you don't know someone well enough to presume you know what they are like or what their intentions are.  As for what I'm adding...and again, I already do it, I just need to focus on doing more of it, is volunteering.  I spend time with my Little a few times a month, but I am going to try to focus on the mentor aspect of it more than the friend aspect of it.  I realize I am her friend too, and I plan to continue to grow that friendship, but there are a lot of valuable little things she could learn from me if I cultivate that side of our relationship.  Part of this will involve spending more time at the animal shelter and maybe volunteering somewhere else with her as well.  I also need to volunteer more at work, it is hard because things come up every day for donations or time, but I need to make myself realize that it will serve everyone better if I spend one night walking to cure diabetes rather than sitting at home watching TV.

Random Lenten facts:
  • Lent is actually more than 40 days long, Sundays are not counted and if you have given anything up, you are allowed to indulge on Sundays because that is a celebration day.
  • Ash Wednesday was started because so many people were going to reconciliation the weekend before Lent started, out of tradition.  It became overcrowded and they could not get to everyone.  In the past, the penitence of sins involved being sprinkled with ashes, so as a solution to their reconciliation back-up, they designated the first day of Lent Ash Wednesday, so they could "sprinkle" everyone with ashes more efficiently.
  • For you Catholics out there, Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, so if you missed it, don't feel bad!
That's all for my fun facts for now, maybe there will be more to come...I learned them all in Church, so maybe I'll learn more the next time I go.

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