It’s always surprising to me that people who seldom attend Mass on Sunday will break a leg to get to Church on Ash Wednesday! It’s all about receiving those black crosses on our foreheads. We can’t manage without them. And I’m also certain that most of us would not be able to talk for three minutes straight about the ‘sacramental’ blessed ashes, by way of their meaning and purpose in our Catholic lives. This is the conundrum: there is no understanding about the value and importance of the ashes—why we get them, what prayer is said while we are ‘signed’ with the ashes, when the liturgical custom became a regular practice, what it has to do with the season of Lent, etc., etc. We just want our Lenten ‘fix’ in order to get started somehow. Not all bad. Lent is ‘pause time’ for each of us – the invitation to pause and reflect on ourselves and our relationship to God. It’s time to remember what is important and to check out our spiritual selves. It’s that time of year – ‘the acceptable time, the time of our salvation….’ When I was growing up, my mother used to have this little saying and I would hear it from her lips every time I went out with my friends or on a date – Mom would say: ‘Remember who you are!’ And really, I had no clue exactly what she meant – not until I got older—but I’d go off a bit annoyed that she had to try to ruin my day or my night with such heavy-duty pondering! It all crashed in on me years later and I realized how central her words are to my life’s meaning. How about you? What are your memories of Lents gone by? What kind of learnings did you carry forward into your present spirituality? Give it some thought and, Happy Lent– no matter what!