Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Everyday I take the bus to work. It is about a third of a mile walk from my apartment to the bus stop. This daily morning and evening walk is one of the highlights of my day.

There are many wonderful things along this glorious route; the beautiful trees, the smell of fresh coffee brewing from a café, and the regular acquaintances that I have met along the way as our daily rituals intersect.

One of the more impressive things that I encounter on my journey is the beautiful St. Augustine Catholic Church. When I pass it, it always grabs my attention. It seems to be a concrete brick building with a touch of gothic architecture. It reaches at least five stories into the sky betraying a delicate power that almost demands reverence.

I’m not Catholic but I must admit… they’ve got style.

So I was walking home today and soon after I got off the bus I saw many more pedestrians than usual. They all had gray crosses on their foreheads.

It is Ash Wednesday; the first day of Lent.

The closer I came to the church, the more people I saw. I saw people of all races and ages. There were mothers and fathers with their young children holding hands and smiling. There were elderly men and women walking in a peaceful yet stoic meditation. Some were dressed fresh from their office jobs. Others had shorts and t-shirts. But they all had a special glow to them. It was as if you could see a light shining from within their eyes and smiles.

It was beautiful to see.

I have seen this before but this is the first time that it struck me like this. There is something powerful about a group of people coming together to dedicate a season of their lives to God.

Some may do it by giving up alcohol or another such vice. Others may have behavior that they wish to change, thoughts that they would like to erase, pain that they would like to forgive.

The thing that they all have in common though is that they will all attempt to use these next forty days as a time to improve themselves and their relationship with God.

I’m down with that.

So I’m going to join them. I’ve decided to give up fast food (the bane of my existence!) and to set aside ten minutes every morning to pray and meditate.

Perhaps you’d like to try it too.

You never know what miraculous things may happen.

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 21-22; Matthew 28


  1. I remember one year in college a customer came up to order a mocha and I told her "you have something smeared on your forehead" HA! I didn't realize it was Ash Wednesday.

    I love Catholic cathedrals, very gothic vibe.

    Good luck on your 40 days without fast food, that's a good thing!

  2. Hey brotha. Thanks for this, I checked out a Cathedral with a friend of mine who lives across the street from one. It's really gorgeous inside, more like a museum/mausoleum space. The pictures on the wall, as well as the rooms inside, tell the story of the crucifixion. Also, there's some type of special effect that happens at night where this gigantic image of Jesus appears to be looking down on you. And man, praying with you on the junk food thing. I know I shared with you about my experience with the fast in January and the corporate prayer, it's been life affirming and life changing.

  3. Thank you Kof! Yeah I need to go inside that place one of these sundays to check it out. Having grown up in non-denominational churches all my life I find myself suddenly fascinated by the rituals in Catholicism. It's totally foreign to me. They've been around for a cool minute... so I figure there's something to it.

    Lezlie: Thank you :)


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