Today is Ash Wednesday. When I told my husband I would be going to church, he said, "Are you going to get ashes on your forehead?" I said, of course. We briefly talked about the tradition and I explained to him how I liked how this ritual helped remind me of the spiritual purpose - repentance.
We live in an era of cheap apologies. Even worse, perhaps, we live in an era where cheap apologies are made before millions through talk shows and news broadcasts. How many mea culpas have we witnessed from politicians, celebrities, and sports icons? Although apologizing has become rote for many, how many have truly been sorry, asked for forgiveness, and then tried to make better choices in their life?
We know that only God has that answer because only He knows the heart of a man or woman. But we can take these slices of modern life and use them as a magnifying glass upon our own decisions.
I think often of my own sorrow over my sin. Or perhaps more accurately, my lack of sorrow. With my husband, it is much more focused. I love my husband so much that it would break my heart to hurt him or cause him pain. Have I lost my temper? Certainly. But I'm aware of it and immediately ask for his forgiveness. He chuckles and claims my lapses are "nothing" but they are definitely something to me. Unrestrained anger, taken out on those closest to me, will eventually erode the relationship. Because I waited so long to find love, the last thing I want to do is take it for granted and then lose it.
Then I think of my relationship with God. Should it not be even of greater importance than my earthly bonds? Should it not break my heart to know that I've caused sorrow in my heavenly Father's heart as I choose to sin?
Yes and yes. Just a few thoughts as I enter our Lenten season.
For those who want to explore more, there is a good discussion on the Catholic Answers forum: