Today is Ash Wednesday and it’s the one day of the year you can recognize who’s Catholic. We have ash crosses gunked on our foreheads. Catholics have various opinions about the significance of the ashes, but how I see it is that people were formed from dust, will return to dust, and the reason why we exist is because of God. So the ashes are a reminder of our humanity.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent which is the period leading up to Easter Sunday. Easter is the most important religious holiday so we use this time to pray, repent, and do acts of charity. Most Catholics give up something for Lent probably because that’s what they’re used to doing and it equates to Jesus fasting for forty days in the desert. Kids give up chocolate or ice-cream. I don’t think you necessarily need to give up something. I mean, really. Giving up alcohol or TV is really going to prepare you during this holy time. Seriously? I personally think of what I can do over the next forty days to become a better person. One year, I ran every day and prayed while I ran. The past couple years, I’ve given up anger. Everyone laughs, but I truly make a point to not get angry. I actually put it in my calendar every single day to be peaceful and harmonious. It works for me.
“How can you give up anger? You have to give up something tangible.” I don’t know where these people get the idea that you have to follow certain rules to be a better, more prayerful person. Do what’s right for you.