Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent. As a Catholic, I’m sitting here writing this with ashes on my forehead, a reminder of the fact that I am a sinner who is called to repentance, like everyone else. To be honest, it is always a little weird for me when I’m walking around the city and people just stare at me. And though that might make me feel momentarily uncomfortable, I also feel happy when I see other people walking around with the ashes on their foreheads. It’s almost like a symbol of unity, like we’re all in this together, which really, we should be. After all, the main reason for Lent is to prepare for the death and resurrection of the man who died for us all, so it would only make sense that we all embark on this journey together!
Lent is a time of penance, a time for sacrifice. It’s more than just giving something up and hoping we can last the 40 days without it. This year, like I’ve done for the past two years, I am giving up shopping. Trust me, this is a lot harder for me than it sounds! I have a self-diagnosed online shopping addiction. I shop online at least three times a week. The other four days, I’m usually browsing the websites, trying to decide what I’m going to buy. So yes, giving it up for 40 days is not going to be easy, but I’m going to give it all I’ve got in order to make it through. I’m also going to try to make it to daily mass. I’ll have to wake up earlier every day to make it to work on time, but I think this is exactly what I need in my spiritual life right now.
I’m suspending my Netflix and Hulu accounts for Lent as well, as I am the queen of binge show watching. No time like the present to nip that bad habit in the bud.
I know it is going to be a difficult Lent for me this year, but that’s the point: I need to give up the things that hold me down, and prevent me from furthering my relationship with Christ and the Church as I want to. This journey has only just begun, but I know that at the end, it’ll all be worth it. The difficult things usually are.