09 March 2011

Ash Wednesday

For years I’ve been intrigued by Lent.

I had friends in high school who would give things up for Lent, and I remember simultaneously liking the idea and thinking it was ridiculous—why not behave that way year round instead of the forty days before Easter? I have since shed the ridiculous opinion (although I am not a fan of the theory behind Fat Tuesday).

As Lent is now upon us again, I looked it up. I thought it might be beneficial to know more than what my high school friends had told me about it. (It was.) I was slightly surprised (but also not at all) at how much it reminded me of the practices of Ramadan. Fasting, prayer, almsgiving. We really are more similar than we think.

As a member of the LDS church, I do not generally participate in Lent. Of course, that has not stopped me from observing Jewish holidays or Catholic midnight mass in the past, and sometimes I wonder about Lent too. While yes, we should be focusing on all those things throughout our lives, I like the idea of reorienting yourself in preparation for the Holy Week and Easter. I suppose if I’m participating this year though, I need to decide now.

. . .

Okay. I’m going to do it. Prayer, penitence, almsgiving, and self-denial. It seems that self-denial tends to be the modern focus, perhaps because self-denial seems to be the most difficult. I think the point originally, though, was to balance all four.

Care to join?


  1. I am also fascinated by Lent and love the idea of being a bit more intentional about focusing on Christ's sacrifice for us ... leading up to Easter. I realize technically I needed to decide by yesterday, but I'm a firm believer that God is about the heart and spirit behind such a decision, so if I decide to start this week-end ... pretty sure that the full 40 days is not as important as the sincere heart that practices Lent for 36 days, instead ... at least for this non-Catholic person.

  2. I had planned to participate in Lent . . . giving up sugar . . . but then Safeway had Ben & Jerry's on sale for $2.49 a pint, and my self-denial went out the window.

    Maybe I'll start tomorrow . . . for it is another day.

  3. So when I started reading this post I thought it was going to be about lent--like the kind you find in your belly button or on your sock. Ha! What is "self-denial" really? What will you do? I'm glad your not doing something like...never mind.