Lent has officially begun! Already I am feeling the struggles! Not only am I struggling with caffeine withdrawal, I am also struggling spiritually.
The readings on Ash Wednesday condemned acts of hypocrisy; worshiping in public for the sake of being seen and admired. It kind of brought up one of the questions that people discuss/debate about every year on Ash Wednesday; should people wear their ashes all day while in public, or wipe them off? Is it prideful to post Ash Wednesday selfies?
Last year, the USCCB encouraged the faithful to post selfies with their ashes and they got a bit of a backlash from some who thought that the bishops were encouraging hypocrisy. After all, didn't the reading state that we should pray in private?
Well, here are my two cents: I think it all depends on the person. Yes, there are probably people who pridefully show off their ashes to put forth a facade of being holy and devout. However, I display my ashes with the intent of showing others that the Christian faith is alive and active in an otherwise secular world.
There is an overall tone in today's society that faith, especially the Christian faith, but all faith in general, is no longer relevant in today's society. I sport my ashes to say that my faith is a huge part of who I am and has an impact on my everyday life and decisions. I cannot practice my faith in private,. I have to practice it every day in everything that I do.
It is not my intention to appear 'holier than thou'. It is my intention to show the world that the Christian faith is alive and Christ is alive! Take it or leave it.
I have had a number of spiritual struggles for the past couple of years and I am feeling pretty guilty about them. I plan to go to confession within the next couple of weeks and hopefully get my spiritual life back on track. I really need it. I just need to remember that God is loving and merciful and He loves me no matter what.
So, the first couple of days of Lent have been a bit of a struggle...and I really shouldn't say struggle...more of an inconvenience. Let's face it, fasting is not exactly fun. But I am certainly hoping that I will show a marked improvement within the next 6 weeks!
How is Lent treating you thus far?