In case you didn't know, today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. According to Wikipedia, Lent is the 40 day liturgical season observed in preparation for Easter. Often times people will give up a certain food or pleasure (i.e. TV, Facebook) to instead devote themselves to God. When I was in college I can remember giving up certain foods during the Lent season, but I don't think I ever really understand why I was giving it up. Probably I just did it because everyone else was.
Tonight I went to the Ash Wednesday Mass on campus. I grew up in a pretty Protestant kind of town, we only had one Catholic church and to be honest I knew nothing about what they did. So you can imagine my confusion my freshman year of college when I saw every other person (at least it seemed that way to me) bearing soot on their forehead. Tonight as I type this I'm one of those 'soot bearers'.
I decided about a week ago that I don't have much discipline in my life and Lent might be the perfect time to institute it. So I decided I needed to make sure I was up by 7:30 every week day morning (please don't judge me all you teachers, doctors, moms who are up waaayyy earlier than that everyday!) during Lent. Knowing this, I decided going to mass tonight was a great way to kick off this celebration of discipline. I was pleasantly surprised at the service. I've never seemed to understand liturgy but tonight it kind of made sense and I saw the celebration in it. So I'll leave you with the words spoken to me as a cross of ashes was placed on my forehead tonight: "Repent from your sins and return to God." He's waiting.