Daily Reflection
February 25th, 2004
Eileen Wirth
Journalism Department
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Happy Ash Wednesday!

At noon, St. John’s Church will be filled with Creighton students and employees lining up for ashes.

“It’s not even a holy day of obligation,” said I to an ash-laden colleague last year.

“But Ash Wednesday is cool,” she replied.

In the pre-Vatican II era Ash Wednesday ushered in six grim weeks. Ironically the most devout often violated the spirit of today’s Gospel:
Take care not to perform righteous deeds so that others may see them.”
When you pray do not be like the hypocrites who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that others may see them.”
When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance so they may appear to others to be fasting.”

One scrupulous woman in our parish told everyone that she weighed her food so her breakfast and lunch did not add up to more than her dinner. No one could accuse her of breaking the fasting rules! I’m sure other members of the Catholic Daughters were impressed. She had her reward.

I’m big on doing something positive during Lent rather than giving up something to brag about like friends on the Atkins Diet.
    •Take treats and visit an elderly person who doesn’t get out much (the anti-fasting Lenten activity).
    •Volunteer and keep it up after Lent. Try tutoring or delivering Meals on Wheels or serving dinner at a homeless shelter. These can be spiritually rewarding and fun.
    •Read something that feeds your soul. My favorite Lent book is “The Choice to Be Human” by Eugene Kennedy, a meditation on Matthew’s Gospel (unfortunately it may be out of print).

Don’t just start Lent with cool ashes. Do something cool during it so you can observe these weeks without anyone catching on to what you are doing – anyone except Jesus!      

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