Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lent

I was reminded yesterday that many in the Christian world will be participating in the yearly Ash Wednesday ritual this coming week. It is viewed by many as the traditional beginning of Lent. My daughter was visiting yesterday and asked questions about it and said she did not understand what significance it had. I explained to her what it meant and why Catholics felt it was important, as I was raised Catholic.

I am now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As the Easter season soon approaches, I join with many others around the world who will be thinking about the significance of what our Savior Jesus Christ did for us so long ago. I no longer participate in the Ash Wednesday practice as I did as a child as Mormons do not participate in this ritual nor is Lent part of our doctrine or practices. Rather, we try to think of repentance as a daily thought and need, and reflections about the Savior as a daily commitment. My feelings about, and love for the Savior have deepened as the years have gone on. I  am deeply grateful for what He has done for me because of His atonement. The outward practices I once participated in have now been replaced by a daily, living observance in how I try to live my life and think about sacred events such as Easter remembrances.


2 comments:

  1. So what does it mean? We drove by a Catholic church this morning and saw a black ink thingie that said Ash Wednesday and I asked my husband, who also did not know. I was curious - and was going to google it before I saw your post - I know my Catholic buddies at work give up stuff each year for a week or something like that... what is the significance of it though?

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  2. When I was a young girl, I attended Catholic school. We received ashes on our foreheads every Ash Wednesday. It was to symbolize the beginning of a period of reflection and contemplation regarding the 40 days before Easter. The nuns taught us that "giving something up" for Lent like goodies or something tempting like chocolate was our way of expressing to the Lord that we wanted to "give something up" in order to come closer to Him. In giving something up so to speak, it was supposed to lead you to reflect on the errors in your life which you could repent of and become free from the burdens of the errors. I remember one of my nuns telling me that instead of giving something up for that 40 day period known as Lent, we could "do something" for the Lord instead. She suggested that we be kinder to someone or more thoughtful and try to be a better person.

    I remember that the Catholic priest would say the following words as he made a cross of ashes on our foreheads: ""Remember, man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." It was a way to remind us that we would all die someday and be judged by the Lord and we should try to repent and live such that Christ and His sacrifice had meaning for us.

    I am no longer a Catholic. Perhaps you could ask a Catholic for further clarification if this doesn't help.

    As for me, all that I learned as a child pointed me to seek the Lord more earnestly in my life. I only mentioned this post as a way to contemplate verbally what the Easter season means to me and note it for my children.

    To answer your question specifically, the significance should be a thoughtful, continued contemplation of what this life means for us. Why are we here? What is our purpose in being here? And most importantly, where do we go when we die?

    There are answers to those questions. You are right to question. Perhaps you can look at the red links on the upper right side of my blog for some further clarifications.

    Good luck.
    Liz

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