Ash Wednesday jumped on me out of nowhere. I must have not been paying attention at Church last Sunday. In any case, I went to Mass this morning, and the priest announces that, yes, today is the day.
Today marks the beginning of Lent, the season of fasting and prayer. No meat on Fridays, and more importantly, find ways to deny yourself many little things throughout the forty days. Over the years, it's become a little game for me to stick to the spirit of the season.
I've always sort of liked Ash Wednesday. There's something innocent about smattering your forehead with ash. Yes, we look really silly, but that's exactly the point.
And what if I told you that the problems of this country -- Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, included -- would disappear, or at the least, seem bearable, if you went and had your forehead smacked with ash today? Would you believe me?
I know, I know, you're a member of the blogoratti, and believing in such medieval practices is so 9th Century. It's so unprogressive! Surely the answer to our problems couldn't be so simple! We blog! We protest! We take to the streets!
You've done all that, and...what? Time to try something else. It's just ash, it couldn't hurt.
And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, "Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean?"
So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, "My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?"
Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
--2 Kings 5:10-14