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Seven Quick Takes Friday: Lenten Stirrings

Or, 7 Quick Takes, two days after Friday...

--- 1 ---

Today we brought our dried-up Palm Sunday branch from last year to the sacristy, so the parish can burn them together with other branches and use the ashes for Ash Wednesday. It is a practice that is important to me. Maybe because the practice of delivering back the branches to the church is some sort of a Lenten stirring for me. But it has to be more than that, right? There has to be a connection between the fresh branches of Palm Sunday and the dry branches-turned-ash of Ash Wednesday. I have to find out about this. So, dear reader, if you can enlighten me, please do! Your help is very much welcome :-)

--- 2 ---

Tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Isn't it special that on the Year of Faith, we are having our Blessed Mother's feast just two days before Ash Wednesday? It is like a reminder that we can always and truly count on her to guide us to her Son.

(You can find a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes here.) 

--- 3 ---

I just found out that we have three devotional reading books on Lent in the house. Reminder to self: pray, choose one book, and stick to that throughout Lent. You don't have to use all three just because they are available. Go for quality prayer time instead. Husband and the kids can use the other two :-) 

--- 4 ---

Purification. That is my personal word for this year's Lenten Season (alongside solitude, which is my personal word for 2013). Fasting. Frequent confession. Mortification. Oh, Blessed Mother, I'm going to need a lot of help.

 --- 5 ---

Almsgiving. I've always wanted to be systematic about this. Regular and pre-determined amounts. It might be a good idea to do this as a family. Almsgiving refines not just the virtue of generosity, but also offers a first step towards authentic dying unto one's self.

--- 6 ---

I think that the beauty of the Catholic religion is that it also immensely rich in culture. And coming from a country with 80 percent (or so) of the population being Catholics, there is no want for churches to go to. Lent might be a good time to go to churches, especially shrines, that we have not gone to. I need to get Husband and the kids into this, too.  

--- 7 ---

And for all the sacrifices that we are enjoined to offer and the selflessness that we intend to practice this Lent, let us remember that all those should not go with long faces :-(. There is nothing like a smile to symbolize 100-percent willingness :-).   
Have a meaningful Lent, everyone.


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