Lent Day 1

The last 15 years or so, I started noticing how I would start to panic if I found myself in enclosed, crowded places such as restaurants, movie theaters, malls, etc.  I find myself scanning the place for the exits.  I've read too many horror stories of people becoming "bottle-necked" after, heaven forbid, a fire or another emergency that requires a lot of people to immediately leave through ONE OR TWO doors at the same time (!)
I felt that panic last night.  I immediately felt my hands start to perspire, I also got a headache and I felt kind of queasy and nervous.  Yesterday was Ash Wednesday.  The kids and I of course, went to church to receive the cross of ash on our forehead.  I seriously cannot describe how crowded the church was.  When we first got there, the kids and I were kind of "shoved" to the top of the stairs.  This is when the panic set in.  Later, we were "shoved" down to about the middle of the stairs.  We were there for maybe 10 minutes (I actually felt ok there because I was standing right next to one of the exit doors!).  Then we worked our way back upstairs after receiving the ash and we were able to stand right at the main entrance for the remainder of the mass.  It was THAT full.  I think had we not been able to stand by the entrance after receiving the ash, we probably would have left at that time. 

Anyway, this of course, means that today is the first day of Lent.  For those of you that don't know, it signifies the beginning of Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the desert.

It is customary to "give up" something as a sacrifice, just as Jesus did.  This year I have sacrificed something that I'm hoping I can stick with it.  I'll reveal what it is on Easter.  If you happen to read this, please pray that I am bestowed with an abundance of willpower.  The kids also decided to sacrifice something big in their lives.  I pray we don't fall into temptation.

Oh, and I have to mention this because I don't want to forget it.  Almost a year ago, the beloved Father from our church was moved to another church in a different city.  On more than one occasion, we would catch him smoking a cigarette outside before mass.
Well, the kids asked me yesterday while I was driving to the church if the ashes used on people's foreheads came from Father Rocco's ashtray.  Yeah...awkward.

I had to explain that it is customary for the palms from last year's Palm Sunday be burned for this year's Ash Wednesday...I don't know if they believed me.

Have a great Thursday!

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