It's been a hard week of sickness around here. Blaise has been the sickest, but when he's sick, I sleep poorly. He still calls our bed his bed, so most nights this week have found me woken up an extra 6 to 8 times with his coughing or asking for water or a nose wiping. Yesterday showed some promise in a change for the better, and I think we are finally nearing the end.
That being said, we couldn't take him out to Ash Wednesday mass, so we split up. David took the 6:30 am service while Dominic and I traipsed out to the overly packed 7:00 mass. Why is it that on Holy Days of Obligation the church is barely half full, and then a day that is not obligatory but that reminds one of their sin, the Church is squishing people in? Anyhow, we managed to get our foreheads ashen crossed in time for me to come home and put the four year old to bed and then collapse into my own.
Earlier in the day, Dominic had seen a photo of somebody with their newly ashed head. His comment: "Well, I think I'll have them draw a crucifix instead of just a cross." His high expectations weren't met. I chuckle to myself at what he might have said to our priest if Dominic were the more outgoing type.
Where the holy chrism oil marks the Sacraments one receives as a Catholic, the ashes given out on Ash Wednesday are a sacramental and given to all who wish to receive them. By the blessing of the Church, the ashes are made a sign of penance. When the priest marks the cross upon our forehead and reminds us that "Dust you are and to dust you shall return," there is absolutely no pride in the wearing. Rather a full sense of humility is given as we willingly wear a mark that admits our guilt in our sinfulness. Our ashen crosses symbolize a readiness to enter into this Season of contrition.
And ready or not, here we come!
Our family gives up the same three things every year for Lent: Meat, sweets, and eating out. This allows us to have extra money to put towards alms giving. From there, David and I usually add our own acts of prayer and fasting. In attempting to jibe with my word of the year and embrace who I am, I am trying not to take on too much, but to pace myself with disciplines that will benefit me while not driving me crazy.
Falling down and getting back up, for me at least, is a regular part of Lent. I pretty much always catch myself with a mouthful of desserty goodness when out at a party or realize that I completely forgot to pray the rosary that was planned for that morning. So, I don't plan to be perfect this year. I just hope to not be overwhelmed.
Here are a few things I hope to add to or detract from my life this Lent:
Pray the Morning or Evening prayer from the Magnificat every day. I got a free copy for March at our women's conference last weekend, and I figure I'll make a purchase of one copy of April. I wish I could afford to get a subscription. Hard, yes? Doable, totally. With no interruptions, it takes less than 20 minutes.
Attend daily mass 3 times during the whole of Lent. What with being out sick this past week and the realization that I've never done this as of yet pregnant AND with two little boys, this will be challenge enough for me.
Add on to that, attending the Stations of the Cross or a communal rosary with the boys at least twice. Wiggleness factor should be mortification enough.
Read a few of the spiritual books from my 2014 list. I always find myself deliberating over a spiritual book versus fiction, and typically the latter wins. So, during Lent, I am going to attempt to make a concerted effort to choose food for my soul.
And then on the practical side, I hope to use each day to embrace my vocation as a wife and mother by cleaning or organizing one extra thing on top of the daily "keeping the house running" routine. This was inspired by a lovely post (and video!) by Bonnie at A Knotted Life. I never associated spring cleaning with Lent before now, but I am excited to connect those dots this year.
Thus far, this has meant emptying out a few extra boxes and reorganizing part of my desk. I can't imagine what our house will look like after 40 days.
Lastly, for a... dare I say it? fun activity, I am joining Abbey of Surviving Our Blessings for her #HolyLens Lent-stagram project with a photo each day (prompts compliments of her). It's not too late to join in, so follow the link if you're interested to get more information.
Here are the days #1 and #2 of the project:
#1 - Fast
#2 - Cross
I hope your Lent has started off blessed and continues to be a beautiful path of penance and sacrifice as we cleanse our souls and offer up our suffering for the good of the Church in hope of the resurrection of our Lord.
If there is something you would like to add to my prayer list, please, please let me know - either in the comments or you can e-mail requests to me: sarah.g.ortiz [at] gmail [dot] com
Til next time,
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