Lent Day 1: Ash Wednesday

Today, I learned a lesson in patience. I got an e-mail from my Sunday School Supervisors that there would be an Ash Wednesday prayer service just for the kids, so I decided to wait until 7:30 to get my ashes.

The rest of the day proved to be a test of patience. My co-teacher and I were planning on getting pretzels and juice for the kids, but I wanted to be efficient, so I decided to buy the food about an hour before class started.

What did I do between the time I got up and the time I actually had to go to CCE? I spent the day like I normally did, except I fasted. I made a lot of tea. I started reading Thomas A. Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. (I seriously love that book and I highly recommend it as a Lenten reading.)

In the end, I found that my patience was still tested. My first graders were restless and excited and the prayer service didn’t leave time for snacks and juice. Thankfully, my co-teacher and I decided that we would give the kids snacks after Spring Break.

So like I told my friend: “Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.” And boy did I learn a lesson in that today.

In a way, Lent is a period where our patience is tested constantly. Sometimes it comes in the form of fasting. Sometimes, it comes when you aren’t sure if you can finish that extra prayer or give that spare change to the homeless person on the street. Last year, many Catholics learned patience during the Sede Vacante period between Benedict and Francis. But as last year taught us, there is always something better waiting for us when Lent is over.

Here’s what Fr. Robert Barron has to say about today:

From Fr. Robert Barron:

Judged According to Love

The Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross said that in the evening of life we shall be judged according to our love. In Matthew 25 the nature of love is specified. It is not primarily a feeling, an attitude, or a conviction, but rather a concrete act on behalf of those in need–the hungry, the homeless, the lonely, the imprisoned, the forgotten. It is the bearing of another’s burden.

Here’s a challenge: Over the next forty-seven days, resolve to perform a particular and sustained act of love.

Make several visits to your relative in the nursing home. Converse regularly with a lonely person on your block. Tutor and befriend a kid who might be in danger of losing his way. Repair a broken friendship. Bring together bickering factions at your place of work. Make a number of financial contributions to a worthy organization that needs help.

Numerous spiritual masters have witnessed to something odd: Belief in God is confirmed and strengthened not so much from intellectual effort as from moral action.

When a man once asked the English Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins what he must do in order to believe, Hopkins replied, “Give alms.”

As you love through tangible acts, you will come to believe more deeply and to enter more fully into friendship with God.’

And finally, here’s my #ashtag selfie.

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