09 March 2011

Ash Wednesday

"Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. . . 40 days of meditation of God's love and mercy to us thru the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus"

This is the text message of Father Thom. That is the perfect mantra for today. I have a full schedule to follow up my concern about the bread with 'ammonia smell" (which I posted last Thursday), send my formal letters to officials (it does take time to sit down and write a formal letter and print and personally send to all and have the letters received) and stay calm and collected.

On top of it, I have several tasks to do: collect my shirt design samples, collect items repaired at the tailoring shops (they charge around $1 per item to repair! Very reasonable) and finish my feasibility report due for discussion tomorrow. Sadly, I was not able to do the last one. That means I have to discuss with corrections, if ever. Sigh.

Catholic churches cover their religious images except those that reflect the passion of Christ. Notice the covered image of Santo Rosario in the altar and the uncovered images of Mater Dolorosa (the weeping Mother Mary) and Nazareno (Christ carrying the cross) displayed in full.

So how does one start the Lenten season in meditation amidst the turmoil and modern day rush and bustle? How does the season of Lent matter to 21st century Catholics like me? These are the questions asked by friends as I try to reflect on several concerns emailed and texted to me. For Catholics around the world it is the day to abstain from meat, attend mass and have ashes marked with a cross in their forehead to signify that "from dust you came and from dust you shall return" . . .

In our church, people lined up for the marking of cross on our forehead by the Priest assisted by Lay Ministers.

We are dust created and fashioned into a being that thinks, reacts, creates and recreates our own reality. We view our world differently and family and religion and government and friends and society and everything around us dictate and affect how we view our world.

That is my sister Luchie in reflection in church together with other parishioners.

As the church bell tolls for mass, as the people crowd out churches between and after work and school, as people carry their marked crosses in their forehead, and probably felt their sacrifice from abstaining from meat 'for one day', the rest of the world is into another paradigm, another religious belief, another form of enlightenment and inspiration to view this season.

For me, my view is beyond religion although I use it as a spiritual guide and as a way to understand the people around me. Now, I look to the season of Lent as a way to start the cycle of renewal, of my belief system, of the things I value, and the things I need to strengthen in myself and the things I do. By linking with people of other religions, of other belief systems, of other special traditions that define who we are as people and as a community, I build up and load on those special qualities that enrich and inspire, not just my person, but all those who link to me as well. . . . May this season and time of renewal bring to everyone added hope, more loving inspiration and strengthened faith . . .


Denise said...

Hi Lui, so glad you stopped by. It reminded me how long it has been since I visited you, and so I decided to get over here and say hello :) I enjoyed your post today and thought your photos were truly beautiful. Have a great weekend my friend.

lisa said...

I truly love this season, as it is so steeped in tradition for me. Thank you so much for sharing this Lui! Wonderful post.

Viola said...

So different from what I've seen i my part of the world..

Nice photos! :)

Hugs..from Viola and Pusa :)

Self Sagacity said...

I missed it! Probably the first time ever.