Since today is Ash Wednesday and Lent begins, I thought I would look up some of the many questions I have about it. I "was" baptized "Catholic" and have attended only Catholic chuch my whole life, but I can't say that I agree with all Catholic beliefs or understand them all. Which is why I chose to look some of it up. For Lent this year, I decided to give up buying scrapbooking supplies (except for glue...lol). In my understanding, I thought that when we gave something up for Lent, we were "sacrificing" something we loved for God just as he sacrificed His life for us. In what I read, I learned that it is instead, a practice to train our wills to refuse "bad" pleasures.So, "by disciplining the will to refuse pleasures when they are not sinful, a habit is developed which allows the will to refuse pleasures when they are sinful". I understand that...I "get it", but I don't know...I thought it was more "significant" for me to think of it as giving up something for my God...who has sacrificed so much for me, as a sign of my gratitude for His sacrifices. I know nothing I can do it worthy of Him, but as a human person, it is all I am capable of doing. I hope I'm explaining myself correctly. I always find it hard to find the words when it comes to God and religion. I guess because alot of these things to me don't have "words"...it's alot of feelings, alot of undescribable emotions. I'm sure somewhere out there, there is someone more eloquent than me who can possibly put these feelings into words, but that isn't me! lol Anyway, here are a few of the questions I looked up and their answers. If anyone is interested in learning more, I got all this information from a site called
Why are foreheads marked with a cross on Ash Wednesday?
Because in the Bible a mark on the forehead is a symbol of a person's ownership. By having their foreheads marked with the sign of a cross, this symbolizes that the person belongs to Jesus Christ, who died on a Cross. This is in imitation of the spiritual mark or seal that is put on a Christian in baptism, when he is delivered from slavery to sin and the devil, and made a servant of righteousness and Christ (Romans 6:3-18). It is also in imitation of the way the righteous are described in the book of Revelation: "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads." (Revelations 7:3)
Why is Lent 40 Days long?
Because 40 days is a traditional number of discipline, devotion, and preparation in the Bible. Moses stayed on the Mountain of God 40 days (Ex 24:18, 34:28), Elijah traveled 40 days before he reached the cave where he had his vision (1 Kings 19:8), Nineveh was given 40 days to repent (Jon 3:4), and most importantly, prior to undertaking his ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness praying and fasting (Matt 4:2).
Since Lent if a period of prayer and fasting, it is fitting for Christians to imitate their Lord with a 40-day period. Christ used a 40-day period of prayer and fasting to prepare for his ministry, which culminated in his death and resurrection, and thus it is fitting for Christians to imitate him with a 40-day period of prayer and fasting to prepare for the celebration of his ministry's climax, Good Friday (His crucifixion) and Easter Sunday (His Resurrection).
Thus the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "'For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning' [Heb 4:15]. By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert." (CCC 540).
Is the custom of giving up something for Lent mandatory?
No. However, it is a good and beneficial custom, and parents or caretakers may choose to require it of their children to encourage their spiritual training, which is their prime responsibility in the raising of their children.
Why is giving up something for Lent such a good and beneficial custom?
By denying ourselves something we enjoy, we discipline our wills so that we are not slaves to our pleasures. Just as indulging the pleasure of eating leads to physical flabbiness and, if this is great enough, an inability to perform in physically demanding situations, indulging in pleasure in general leads to spiritual flabbiness and, if this is great enough, an inability to perform in spiritual demanding situations, we when the demands of morality require us to sacrifice something pleasurable (such as sex before marriage or not within the confines of marriage) or endure hardship (such as being scorned or persecuted for the faith). By disciplining the will to refuse pleasures when they are not sinful, a habit is developed which allows the will to refuse pleasures when they are sinful. There are few better ways to keep one's priorities straight than by periodically denying ourselves things of lesser priority to show us that they are not necessary and focus our attention on what is necessary.
On to other things, yesterday I spent the day out shopping with Chon. Yes, I had to get one "good one" in before I gave it up! I'm so weak..lol Anyway, we went to the Target at The Rim where I was told last weekend that all the new sb stuff would be put out on Monday. Well, we went and nothing. All they had was the older stuff they were still clearancing and a whole side of empty shelves where I assume all the new stuff like be going. We waited around in that area for about an hour or so, but they never put anything new out. Oh well! Now I'm going to have to wait until Easter to get anything if they put it out before then! It can be my Easter gift :D I did manage to find some cute creepers for only $1!! I got a few for Miguel's friend's wife who just had a baby girl a couple of weeks ago. I also found Lij one of those Cadet hats like the one he already has only in different colors, for only $3.74 from $15! I'm sure he will love it! Also got Mikey a DVD, "Elmo in Grouchland" because they had an end cap of movies for only $5.50. He really loved it and sat and watched the whole thing when we got home. We also went by the M's there, but neither of us bought a thing. We went by Scrapbook Heaven at their new location...I'd never been to the new store, and I picked up a "few" things...only spent $13. They really don't have the newer products and selection the way Scrapbook 911 does. I'm always pretty disappointed when I shop there. We picked up McD's and went and ate at Chon's house before we left to pick up Victoria. Afterwards, we went by WM because Chon said they would price match the price of the little Cricut machine and carts there. So we went and didn't find any small bugs. And they only had the Graphically Speaking cart I wanted, but when I got to the checkouts, the cashier gave me a hard time about how the cart I wanted to buy wasn't pictured in the J's ad. My sis and I tried to explain to her just as it said in the ad, that there are various carts/styles...those were just examples. After speaking to the manager myself, who said the same thing, I just gave up. It wasn't worth it to me to make a big stink over something like that. BUT...I did, at the last minute, decided to spluge and treat myself to the Cricut Expression! I had to mentally convince myself that I deserve it to not feel guilty about spending all that money on it. I was originally going to get one for Christmas when Miguel got his Christmas bonus, but I opted not to and told myself I was going to wait until we got our income tax refund and get it then. So I did :) It also turned out just perfect that I didn't get the cart at WM because a sweet sb.com neighbor had given me the links to two online sites that had Cricut carts for great prices. So I checked them out and was able to find both the Graphically Speaking and the Storybook...one I believe was $34 and the other was $39. I averaged it out with shipping and each cart came out to $41 which was like $4 less than I would have paid for them if I was lucky enough to find them at J's. This saved me the searching and driving to J's. So that was my last big splurge! Oh wait...not true..lol I ordered two stamps from Unity Stamp Co. a few days ago and put in a pre order for this new line Fancy Pants line called Kraft Cuts or something like that. So I'm sure I'll get those sometime "during" Lent, but they were not "bought" during Lent. It's a technicality! Me and my sis also lucked out at WM and found these cute black dresses (I was looking for something to wear to my Uncle's wedding next week). They are just simple, A line black dresses...sleeves, but very nice. They were from $20 and we got them for $5! I also got this nice long sleeved button down blouse...like one of those "fitted" ones for only $5 too (from $15). On Friday, we have this reunion dinner thing. It's something with a whole bunch of Miguel's friends from his school...from the Catholic school he attended growing up. It's at Mi Tierra downtown so I'm thinking I might wear that white blouse with these slacks I had gotten around Christmas time but never wore. On Saturday, I think we are invited to a bbq at Miguel's friend Juan's house so I'm going to give his wife the baby clothes then. Hmm...I think that's all going on here lately. I know this is a really long post, so if you read it all and stayed until the end..."thanks" :) I have some laundry to do today, but I'm hoping I can squeeze in some time to scrap or play with my Cricut. Also have to make some chili for lunch...I'm in the mood for it :) More later :)