Today is Ash Wednesday which means mass, ashes, fasting and the beginning of Lenten penances!
Usually I’d be grouchy by this time of the day, but since I’m pregnant I don’t have to fast which means I’m in a surprisingly good mood. It’s not like I’m indulging in sweets and junk food. I packed a meat free lunch and I’m having boring foods which include: bread and peanut butter, a banana, a can of tuna, an orange, bread with margarine, an apple, chopped vegetables, a yogurt, a container of cottage cheese, raisins, almonds, vegetable juice and boring “healthy” crackers. For supper, I’m making mac and cheese using a Velveeta loaf and a side salad.
That folks is what eating for two looks like. Considering I couldn’t stomach anything during my first trimester I’m trying not to feel guilty for having become a culinary vacuum. But then I get texts like this from my husband, and I start to feel like I’m not being very pious.
So after I’m done my Ash Wednesday “feasting”, my husband I are going to Church to receive our ashes. I’m kind of excited because we didn’t get a service last year and so I didn’t get to walk around with dirt on my forehead. Thankfully, Father very casually decided that we would have a service at 7 pm. The decision came during his homily on Sunday when he asked if people would show up for the service, and parishioners nodded, and the decision was settled.
Speaking of receiving ashes, I remember my aunt telling us a particularly funny story about a little boy going to an Ash Wednesday Service. When they questioned him about what the priest said when he received the ashes, the little boy responded “You are dirt and you will always be dirt”. I know they don’t say that (they say: “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”) but I still laugh every year imagining the priest telling me I’m dirt.
But today is not all about ashes and “feasting”, it also means that I need to begin my Lenten penance. After a lot of thought I’ve decided on two things for Lent, (well actually three but the third is iffy). First, I’m going to give up an half an hour of sleep every day in order to clean the house. So instead of sleeping in, I’m going to wake up and clean the kitchen or vacuum or just tidy up. Today I managed to clean the bathroom which I think is pretty good considering I am not a morning person. So when I’m grumpy and tired, I can try to remember that I’m suffering alongside Christ. But the good thing is its not needless suffering because my house will be clean which means I get to spend more quality time with my husband on weekends. Second, I’m going to say a rosary every day. I find my devotion to Mary (who leads us to Jesus) has been lacking lately and I think the rosary is the perfect way to get back in touch with her. The third Lenten penance is iffy since I don’t know how tempted I will be, but I’m tentatively giving up sweets because that’s what my husband gave up. I feel like it would be unfair to eat sweets in front of him BUT my cravings during pregnancy seem to be donuts, chocolate pudding and chocolate. That means that I may or may not (probably not) be successful.
So that marks the beginning of Lent 2014 for me! I hope everyone is having a good Ash Wednesday and for those fasting out there, remember catholic fasting is one regular meal and two small meals that do not equate the regular meal (don't starve yourself).