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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday Thoughts

This is a strange Ash Wednesday for us. We will not be going to the service for the imposition of ashes this year, as Dominic is still pretty much relegated to rest. Since I am nursing, I'm not fasting, so I am doing a meatless day for the rest of us, Rich is fasting still, dairy and egg free for me today. Poor Dominic is still on Jell-O, popsicles and broth today, but we'll be giving him some Potato Leek soup tonight.

You may have noticed that I didn't post a Menu Plan Monday this week. Mostly, that is because we have Rich's mom here, and she is doing some of the meals, but also because there are people on so many different diets this week, that we're having lots of different meals served. I try to give everyone the same basic meal, usually, but when one person is fasting and another person is on soft foods and clear liquids, someone else is on an abstinent diet, and yet another person is on a different diet entirely, it's a little tougher. Since Dominic's night was a little harder on him, which we expected, we're still really easing him into normal food. He doesn't mind the fun things he's eating, but we've already had some emotion over missing out on some of the things his siblings had.

Alexander and I have been talking a little but about the reasons behind our Ash Wednesday observances, Lenten disciplines, and why we do them as a family, why the Church Fathers, in their wisdom, placed these disciplines for us. Today we are remembering that from dust we came and to dust we shall return. We are ushering in a Holy Lent. I saw on Domestic Vocation that a family was making a crown of thorns (she posted the instructions today) out of dough with toothpicks in it, and keeping that on their table throughout Lent. Each time any of the children does something in obedience to God, that child can take a toothpick out of the crown to illustrate how our obeying God's commands ease Christ's suffering. So, I thought that would be a good exercise to do with the children to help them with this penitential season, and to give them greater understanding about it.

There are some things I am prayerfully trying to eliminate from my life, not just during Lent, but forever, and I am looking forward to practicing these disciplines during the Lent. It will be wonderful to celebrate Christ's resurrection at Pascha, but I am actually looking forward to this time of stricter discipline, fasting, prayer, and alms giving. It is something I am learning to appreciate not as more work or as a deprivation, but as another spiritual work within me that will make me closer to the image of our Lord. I really love that this year the East and the West celebrate Pascha together. It seems right. May there be even more unity in the Church from now on.

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Thanks for sharing the idea for the crown of thorns! I love that idea. I think the kids and I are going to do something similar here. I start a special bible reading during lent, and I think that I am going to find something for the kids as well.
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