1. Let’s take a journey.

Today is Ash Wednesday: the official beginning of the season of lent. Last night, I did some cooking: I fried two steaks for Dan and myself, last last meat that I’ll see until Easter.

I also took three leaves from last year’s palms with Dan’s help, and carefully burned them in a bowl. Although late in the day, when I get in from work tonight I’ll be vesting and saying Mass.

The leaves smelled sweet, something I wasn’t expecting; Dan commented that it smelt like someone was having a ceremony in the kitchen as it smelled of sweetgrass. He also said he hoped it didn’t set off the smoke detectors. I was hoping the same, but it was so cold outside last night I couldn’t bear to do the burning outside.

Today is Ash Wednesday: burning of palms is symbolic of burning and letting go of those things that would encumber us as we enter the desert, the time as Christians when we more seriously focus our prayer, our spirit of charity, and the self mortification of fasting. It’s a hard thing to do in a time when we get whatever we want, whenever we want. I’m going to be cooking a meat dish with someone I support today, and I’m going to have to trust my ability and their pallet because beef strew requires beef.

We make a commitment to let go of those things which hold back our spiritual journey: self depreciation, negative self talk, unjust anger, gossip, criticism, selfishness. We take a chance on letting go of those behaviors that have kept us safe, but now hold us back from the deeper encounter with Christ and our Christian community. Let’s take a journey together.

Let’s say hello on the street to a stranger.

Let’s make a contribution to a food bank.

Let’s have the courage to approach someone in distress to ask if they are ok.

Let’s engage in forgiveness when it will heal all involved.

Let’s pray to know when forgiveness might cause harm if it is direct.

Let’s let our stomachs growl a little before we eat.

Let’s think about our food.

Let’s think about those without.

Let’s take a step towards embracing who we are, learning in that knowledge when we can change, and when we have to accept something as a gift from God.

Let’s prepare to carry the cross.

Let’s pray the rosary, and really consider and try to connect with the Sorrowful Mysteries.

1. Let’s take a journey.

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