Tomorrow, February 10, is Ash Wednesday. It is also payday which, while not planned by the Church, somehow seems apropos - if there is anything to remind one of suffering and sacrifice it has to be looking at how much money is taken out in taxes from my paycheck. However, I know it is important to pay my part for the greater good. I just wish the potholes would be fixed faster and that public schools did not seem to be some sort of training ground for either the MMA or the WWE.
I have my Lenten sacrifices planned - one I will keep to myself, as suggested by our Pastor at St Joseph's, Father Mark Wagner. The others I will share. Sharing allows me to keep myself honest. If you know what I am going to try to do it holds me accountable. I have a better chance of meeting my goal.
Sacrifice #1 No Starbucks Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte for Forty Days
This is not as easy as it seems. I get up to go to work every morning at 3:15 and stopping halfway to work to get this giant cup of strong coffee helps to keep me from driving into the ditch while on a long stretch of back country highway. So I make it very clear - I am not giving up coffee, I am giving up buying coffee from Starbucks. I will make plain old regular coffee for myself and probably just stop there to use their bathroom. It is okay - I told the baristas this morning that they will not see me for 40 days unless I have GOT to use the bathroom. They understood....I am not real sure they cared but they definitely understood.
Sacrifice #2 Meatless Wednesdays
During Lent the Church requires all Catholics to give up eating red meat on Fridays - thus the proliferation of Knights of Columbus Fish Fry Dinners and the origin of the Macdonalds Fish Sandwich. The Church also requires all married couples to refrain from sexual relations on Fridays as well.
I am not married, so no big deal. I already keep the meat fast on Fridays as my regular way of reminding myself that Friday is a special day for Catholics - it is the day the greatest evil known to mankind was committed: the murder of God by His own creatures.
I decided to add a day to this fast this year because I want to remind myself that Jesus went a lot more than just an extra mile for me. I love my steak, I love my ham and I love my other meat. This will allow me to stop midweek, think for a minute of all the love that Jesus has poured out on me since the moment of my conception. It is a small sacrifice to make but it will keep me thinking about Him.
Sacrifice #3 Extra Prayer Time
Being a commuter, active in my Parish and my 12 step program and trying always to be an attentive and loving daughter I don't always get time for extra meditation and prayer. I have a set routine and I stick to it because without that daily connection to God I get lost in the world like a toddler in the woods.
I am blessed in that my Parish provides ways during Lent to add to my spiritual communion with God - most notably in that the family gathers on Friday nights to pray the Stations of the Cross. My goal this year is to attend as often as I can, hopefully after my Friday night 12 Step meetings.
Finally, there is my quiet Sacrifice...the one I will keep in my heart and share only with my confessor and with my God. Suffice to say I dedicate this one to the Holy Souls in Purgatory and to a very special intention.
Every day I will walk through this time and keep in front of me the goal of getting closer to my Higher Power. Every day I will try and remember what the Holy Father has proclaimed this year to be and I will try to practice the Works of Mercy to everyone I come in contact with, whether I like them or not, whether they respect me or not and whether I see them or not.
Please keep me in prayer - I promise to pray for you!