Someone suggested another way of fasting – from technology, or parts of it :-). Would you like to join me to fast from TV and movies this Lent, to spend more time to read…. I’ll be away for the next few days on a Lenten retreat, so will leave you with plenty to reflect on, excerpts of articles here taken from Ignatius Press and First Things.
By Dr. John-Mark L. Miravalle at Homiletic & Pastoral Review:
Ash Wednesday is more than an empty ritual—it is a reminder of our mortality and frailty.Rosary beads, holy water, incense, ashes, et cetera—the “sacramentals” used in prayer and liturgy give Catholicism much of its distinctive flavor. As we are physical creatures in love with a God-made-flesh, the Church encourages the use of material objects to bring us closer to God. This sacred “stuff” engages our bodies and at the same time signifies a higher, spiritual reality, so that our every facet is worshiping. However, there’s a potential danger surrounding the sacramentals—the danger that we’ll forget about the spiritual significance and focus only on what we can see or touch. Sadly, for many people, this is precisely what has happened to Ash Wednesday. Read more here.
Brother Austin G. Murphy, O.S.B. | IgnatiusInsight.com
Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself |
We still ask ourselves as Ash Wednesday approaches, “What am I doing for Lent? What am I giving up for Lent?” We can be grateful that the customs of giving up something for Lent and abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent have survived in our secular society. But, unfortunately, it is doubtful that many practice them with understanding. Many perform them in good faith and with a vague sense of their value, and this is commendable. But if these acts of self-denial were better understood, they could be practiced with greater profit. Otherwise, they run the risk of falling out of use. Read more here.
Thomas Howard, S M | Ignatius Insight
Great Lent, from Evangelical Is Not Enough: Worship of God In Liturgy and Sacrament Lent also leads us slowly toward that most holy and dread of all events, the Passion of Christ. What Christian will want to arrive at Holy Week with his heart unexamined, full of foolishness, levity, and egoism? To those for whom any special observances hint of legalism or superstition one can only bear witness that the solemn sequence of Lent turns out to be something very different from one’s private attempts at meditating on the Passion. To move through the disciplines in company with millions and millions of other believers allover the world is a profoundly instructive thing. Read more here.
David Mills from First Things (Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 1:44 PM)
I just returned from the noon Mass at a nearby church, where the priest imposed the ashes with the traditional opening “Remember, O man.” Which cheered me, which may not be quite the feeling one wants on Ash Wednesday. It reminded me of something I wrote a few years ago for an ecumenical readership, one that included people who would not like or at least not be comfortable with the imposition of ashes. The article follows (slightly revised) for those who might find it of interest or use. Read more here.