“Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast.” ~ Thomas Merton
There are a couple of ways that one could view Ash Wednesday. We could see Ash Wednesday as a day of penance, of struggle, of deprivation, and of denial. All of these would be true. We deprive ourselves of things we like on this day as a sign of repentance. We refrain from eating meat and meat products for the same reason. We fast, eating much less than we typically do. For many, that leads to fatigue, headaches, and a host of other physical shortcomings.
We could see Ash Wednesday in a positive light as well. It is a day of renewal, of promise, of resolve. It is a day when we commit ourselves to the rigors of the season of Lent in order to deepen our relationship with God.
The way we view the day will determine what we get out of the day.
If we view today as penance, struggle, deprivation, and denial, we will want to get through the day as quickly as possible and look forward to tomorrow when we don’t have to do these things again. That would lose the whole meaning of the day and of the season, though.
If, instead, we view this day as one of renewal, promise, and resolve, we will be excited to continue tomorrow and the day after and throughout the season because we know the good it can do for our souls.
So, what will it be for you today? Gloomy Gus? Or Cheerful Christian?
FAITH ACTION: Embrace this somber day with a joy in your heart that will carry you through the Lenten season.
Ash Wednesday is a Day of Fast and Abstinence