Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. Unfortunately for me, Lent begins the same week that we are expecting a visit from a regulatory agency whose very name scares hospitals to death. Therefore, I'll have to abbreviate some of my usual Ash Wednesday devotions. I plan to take the kids to the 6:30am with me, drop them off at home so they can get ready for school, and then head to work. I'll have to play the rest of it by ear. I have a habit of going to confession on Ash Wednesday to set the right penitential tone for the season of Lent. That may or not happen. We'll see.
Lent brings with it the return of the A & P Catholics. A & P was the name of a famous supermarket in America, which has since become SuperFresh. A friend of mine who was a church secretary told me she calls the folks who come out of the woodwork on Ash Wednesday A & P Catholics because they only come to church for ashes and palm. Pretty clever. I'm hoping that rather than allowing myself to become annoyed by people who seem only to show up for a giveaway, I will instead pray in earnest that their hearts might be touched and that they will use the occasion to return to the Lord.
I will do my best to get to Stations of the Cross at our parish every Friday evening. I might even be able to drag a few heathens with me. The one habit I have been an abysmal failure at forming is praying the Liturgy of the Hours. When I worked in Center City, I frequently made it to Vespers at St. John's. No chance of that happening now with me working in the 'burbs. So what's to stop me from praying them alone? Nothing, except laziness. I have it down to a science of being able to get out of bed at the last possible minute and still get to church in time enough to pray a chaplet and at least part of the Rosary before Mass begins. Ten minutes earlier, and I can pray morning prayer. Vespers I can pray in the privacy of my office before I leave work. I'm not making any promises, but simply by making this announcement publicly it may give me the impetus I need to do a little something extra for the Lord.
So, enough about me. What about you? How do you plan to spend Ash Wednesday? How will you begin Lent? What will you do to help you stick to your plan? Also, what's on your menu for Friday dinners during Lent? I can't see a box of Mrs. Paul's without hearkening back to the Fridays of my youth. Grilled cheese with tomato soup was another of my mother's Friday staples.
Oh, one more thing - the fastnachts! Can't forget them. Maybe in a later post I'll give you my recipe for these Fat Tuesday treats.