Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"You Have Something On Your Forehead." "Yes, I know."

Team Tenney, post-mass on campus

Today is Ash Wednesday, and as I was bracing myself for the "I'm trying really hard not to stare at your forehead" looks or even some bold comments, I once again had to remind myself that I live in Louisiana. Not Germany, and not Kansas. In Catholic Boston and Louisiana, no one bats an eye if they see the black smudge on someone's forehead, and I'll confess that it's nice being part of the religious majority. Will has a pretty full day of classes on Wednesdays, and we weren't 100% sure how we were going to fit in Mass with a toddler (Tony knows full well that he's supposed to behave when we're at church, and he does everything in his little 2-year old power to do the exact opposite). Fortunately, Bishop Duca-from the Diocese of Shreveport-was serving mass at 11:00 at the LSUS campus, which worked out swimmingly for all three of us. We met Will on campus and we headed up to the third floor of the library, where Mass was being held. I was surprised at how crowded it was; there were students, professors, family members, and nuns. Tony was surprisingly well-behaved, and the school had very thoughtfully provided cheese pizza for lunch, for those of us who wanted to make lunchtime our "meal" for the day (I'm pregnant, so I won't be fasting this year, but I think it was a good idea for hungry college students who need a pick-me-up before their afternoon classes). 

I'm always relieved at the start of Lent every year, because I see it not only as an opportunity for me to make a much-needed sacrifice, but a chance to clear my mind and my heart. As Bishop Duca said during mass this morning, "you don't have to strive for perfection, but you should strive for a way to better yourself." Whether that means giving up something that you're relying on too heavily, or spending more time in prayer or doing volunteer work, or just focusing on an area in your life that can be improved. I've never followed through with New Year's resolutions, but it's pretty rare if I slip on my Lenten promises. For me, making the distinction between personal gain and spiritual growth always gives me better results. By the time Easter comes around, I feel more at peace, more fulfilled, and much, much more charitable. I mentioned in a previous post that I will be giving up sweets (it's SO easy to overindulge when you're pregnant!), and I will be praying the Rosary every day. I don't always spend as much time in prayer as I should, and Lent is a wonderful time for me to not only repent, but to give thanks for all the blessings in my life. 

Happy Ash Wednesday/Beginning of Lent, everyone. May you find peace during this beautiful season. 

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