"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Beginning of Lent

Tommorrow is Ash Wednesday. As with all of the major holy days of the Church, this day is steeped in meaning and has a number of different aspects on which to reflect.

While I certainly have attended a fair number of funerals, none of them quite have the same effect on me that Ash Wednesday does. At both you hear the words, "dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return." But on Ash Wednesday, when the priest utters these words while signing your forehead with the cross in ashes, it becomes very personal. I am going to die. The commination which is read prior to this tells me why. I was born in sin and am an actual sinner.

It is for this reason that Lent exists. For 40 days, Christians are called on to exercise special discipline on themselves, in the hope that a habit of detachment from earthly things/sinful things with be made. This won't change the fact that death will come. But because of the cross with which we are signed, a holy life and death are possible. The power of the grave is overcome. Nevertheless, death is still a door through which we must all pass. As such, it is extremely moving to be reminded in such a poignant way. May we all remember how fragile we are and that we are only supported and held together by the power of God. And may we all take seriously the fact that this world is only the beginning. Growing attached to anything in it is silly. May we find our joy and sufficiency in Christ and in his cross.


  1. The BCP lays out a place to start for practicing discipline. In the front section of the BCP it contains the section on Fasting/Abstinence. It states we should fast for the forty days of Lent under the Lesser Fast section, but it suggests fasting on Fridays should be the minimum. From what I have seen the latter has become more the norm in the Anglo-Catholic tradition rather than the former. The great experience of fasting is every time you think you about eating meat you remember Christ's Sacrifice for the whole world. Fasting should not be seen as pleasing to God, but a way to draw us closer to Christ.

    The only reason i assume meat as to what some one is abstaining from is this is the practice from the early Church and it impacts the person throughout the entire day rather than periodically. Just some thoughts I 'd share.

    I enjoyed the post and I am looking forward to more.

  2. Hi George,
    I think we should abstain from things other than food as well. Facebook is something I've done twice to give me more time for spiritual/more important earthly things.

    Your one sentence says "fasting shoudl not be seen as pleasing to God, but a way to draw us closer to Christ." I guess I would say to that that drawing closer to Christ is pleasing to God and therefore fasting is pleasing to God. Of course, if you fast simply for the sake of fasting, and do not remember Christ's sacrifice or use your time for his Kingdom, than you're just hungry.