Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent, Ash Wednesday, Etc.

Today is my son's 24th birthday.

Today is the 4 yr anniversary of my brother's death. That means it's about 4 years since I've been blogging. I never knew I'd still be here.

Today is also Ash Wednesday, which takes me back to my childhood in the Bahamas. I went to a Catholic School - St. George's. On this day, we would all go forward and the priest would put a mark on my forehead. It had no significance to me back then and to be honest it doesn't hold any today. I don't usually give up anything for Lent, but at this time of year I become very reflective thinking about the past, the present and the future.

According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes (formally called The Imposition of Ashes) on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday. Ashes were used in ancient times to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. [source:]
Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms-giving, atonement and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. [source:]

For a large part of the world this day is huge - it's even a holiday in certain countries. Though many are not deeply religious the day still holds some significance and many give up something that's considered a great sacrifice for Lent. I found this interesting article on Bible Gateway.

What Twitter is Giving Up for Lent

Are you giving up something for Lent? So are thousands of Twitter users—and Stephen Smith has crunched the data to show us the top 100 things Twitter users are giving up during Lent. Here are the top twenty, followed by the number of tweets mentioning each one this week); as you can see, there are a few joke items in the list, but most are in line with expectations:

  1. chocolate (6,313 tweets)
  2. twitter (5,643)
  3. school (4,638)
  4. alcohol (3,782)
  5. swearing (3,620)
  6. social networking (3,032)
  7. soda (2,840)
  8. sweets (2,432)
  9. fast food (2,238)
  10. lent (1,597)
  11. coffee (1,558)
  12. junk food (1,545)
  13. meat (1,517)
  14. chips (1,442)
  15. homework (1,299)
  16. sex (1,289)
  17. bread (1,263)
  18. facebook (1,162)
  19. you (984)
  20. pizza (888)
So Happy Birthday son and keep smiling big brother. Today may be a good day to give up something and start anew. Because, life can change in an instant.
Any surprises on that list? Are you giving up something on that list during Lent? Does this day hold additional significance for you?


  1. What a lovely post. May you still find both peace and comfort in the sweetest memories of your brother. I have never lost a sibling . . . I can only imagine that even today your heart aches just a little as you continue to miss him. Your son's birthday must add a special sweetness to the day. I hope he had a wonderful day. And I hope you celebrated as well. I believe mothers can celebrate not only their own birthdays but the date of birth of all their children . . . these are very special days.

    For Lent, I gave up nothing and put no ashes on my forehead. I never have. In fact, this is the first year that I even was aware of its coming. The day usually breezes by me until I see someone with a smudge on their forehead. "What is that dirt on his fore. . . . Oh yeah, it's Lent." So, this year, I felt quite proud of myself to even know it was on Wednesday on the 5th this year.

  2. I am using Lent and Ash Wednesday interchangeably . . . not sure why. Don't you judge me. I meant I felt quite proud to myself to even know it was Ash Wednesday on the 5th this year.


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