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Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Shrove (or, colloquially, Fat) Tuesday has sadly concluded the spectacle of Venice's carnival (Latin: farewell to meat), and today, Ash Wednesday (the Dies Cinerum: Day of Ashes), marks the commencement of the 40-day Lenten season of fasting and penance preceding Easter. Before the altar, faithful around the world will be marked by the ashes of last year's Palm Crosses as priests exhort: "Remember, O man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Repent, and hear the Gospel."

It is traditional to "give up" something for Lent - usually smoking, chocolate or some other annoying habit. I overheard someone comment that Barrack Obama would be giving up free-market capitalism. Whereas my usual custom is to give up whale meat, arctic swimming and big game hunting in Africa during Lent, I'm thinking of something more spiritually fulfilling this year - perhaps a cover-to-cover Bible reading (it's about two books / day). I'd welcome any suggestions from our fair readers.... 

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Discussions - 4 Comments

Uh.... perhaps "altar?"

I usually do a twenty-four hour fast on Ash Wednesday as well as each Friday of Lent. I also add reading Scripture (not the whole thing in a month though!), and some other
Catholic reading. This time I think I'll read the Pope's encyclical on Charity which I recently purchased. More time in confession, adoration, and prayer is my hope.

I usually fast/abstain as required by the Catholic Church. I also try to commit to praying the Rosary daily during Lent.

I usually try to give up something that occupies (wastes?) my time, and use that time for more prayer and scripture study. For instance, once I gave up playing computer games, another year I limited TV viewing to 2 hours per day (including weekends).
Fasting of some kind is also a good option, anything from giving up a favorite food (whale meat????) to eating one meal a day. Once my church group did a "Daniel Fast", where we only ate vegetables and water. Time normally spent eating can be devoted to spiritual development, and money saved can be given to missions. The important thing is not what we do, but why.

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