So, how is it both? Well, I'll tell you. For the few who don't realize this I live in a very small town. There are few Catholics here; in fact, only about three people (aside from myself and my kids) who regularly attend at our parish are unrelated to the core group. By necessity, we share a priest with a neighboring town. Obviously, Father Dan cannot be in two places at once for the actual Ash Wednesday Mass, so we got to have ours this evening.
So, we assembled at the church at 5:50 this evening for Stations of the Cross. I took all my children, which, I think, gets me a jump start on my penance for the season. ;) They've been a collective handful today! Got my ashes.
No, that's not me. My priest is not so precise, lol.
Just for purposes of clarification, most pictures from this new point in the blog until I actually buy a new camera battery are pulled from the internet via Google. But anyway. . .
I then decided I should embrace the whole experience and have something decidedly unhealthy and unpenitential this evening for dessert. Which is how I found myself in the store buying ice cream, and being asked,
"Oh, my gosh, Cassi! Who hit you in the head?!?"
Yeah, apparently when you forget to wash your ashes off, and they sit there a couple hours, they become mistakable for a bruise. :) My bad. The question was answered by the lady checking me out faster than I could process what the one asking the question was talking about; apparently I was not the first Catholic to go through G&S tonight. In a town this size, not exactly surprising, especially since a couple of us actually work there. But I digress. . .
And I still really don't know what I'm giving up for Lent. I may end up going with something ridiculously cliched, I don't know. Now don't get me wrong. It's not like I have NO Lenten plan. I do, really. I've downloaded several works of the Saints that I intend to read (at least some of; I'm not fool enough to think I'll get through it all), I'm going to keep chipping away at the Catechism, and as far as prayer goes, I aim to spend an hour before the Blessed Sacrament each week and pray a daily rosary. Almsgiving is a bit tougher when you're short on cash, so one has to be creative. Brainstorming ways to actually give, but I haven't cemented a plan yet. While I aim for some giving in the classical sense (I do have a cause in mind that's near to my heart), I also mean to step up my service to my family. Some of you may scoff at this notion as not real giving. If so, you don't know me as well as you think.
But penance. Penance is the one that has me stuck. To be honest, at first, my plan was to give up yelling for Lent. I thought it was genius. I'd challenge myself, and work on one of my spiritual weak spots at the same time! Then I read somewhere that you can't give up bad habits. Not that you CAN'T, obviously, but. . . not as a form of sacrifice. And that makes sense. A sacrifice is a good thing or pleasure that you give up. The children of Israel didn't sacrifice their sick or lame livestock. God would only accept a perfect animal as a sacrifice. So, back to the drawing board. But I'm rather afraid I'm going to end up giving up something lame like chocolate. :(