Thought For The Week
"The word 'lent' has different meanings in English. He leant against the wall. She lent me some money. If you're from Cork 'he ran the lent of de field!' The Lent we're talking about means 'springtime', so the emphasis is on growth, on renewal and on new life. Lent is a stretching time, a challenging time, a seasonal reminder of the intrinsically challenging nature of the Christian life.' ~Joseph Cassidy"
We will celebrate Ash Wednesday this coming week and the beginning of our journey through Lent. Many people will make an effort to visit some church and get blessed with ashes. One church in Co. Galway is taking a novel approach to Ash Wednesday this year with a drive-thru service available at Glenamady church. The approach has been put together for people who are busy and on the go. The design of the church grounds will allow people to drive in one gate, stop and receive their ashes and then drive out a second gate. Some might say this is all a bit tacky but the parish deserve full marks for being creative, for trying something new and at least getting people talking about Ash Wednesday.
So whether it is in a drive-thru, a church or wherever, the most obvious question is why do we put dirty ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday? It is not a good luck charm but an outward sign that we're mortal, fragile and merely pilgrims passing through this world. The ashes are a reminder that we are willing to do something positive in our spiritual lives. Ash Wednesday is not about doom, gloom or negativity. It's a day to celebrate the gift of now and the gift of today. Life may be busy and hectic, but Lent reminds us that we can step back from all the busyness and reflect on our own lives. Like any camera in constant use, we can quite simply be out of focus. Lent will allow us to re focus and to live life in a much more meaningful way.
Lent has been around for many years. It is not an outdated, old fashioned and out of touch event but one that is more relevant and important than it ever was. I hope your Lenten journey for 2017 will be a good one for you.