Season of Lent

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  This is one of those times of year where I like to "start again."  January first is usually the other time of year I do that.  Anywho, I went to church this afternoon at St. Matthews at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.  There was a crazy amount of people waiting for the 1pm mass.

This church is so beautiful. 

The mass was lovely and I really enjoyed the Gospel from Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18.
There were a few things in there that really spoke to me ~

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray n the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them.  Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."
"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.  They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.  Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden.  And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."

The Priest's Homily was really good too.  One thing he said was, "Maybe some of us have been away for a while, but we're called back on this season.  Why?  Because He loves us!"  I haven't been going to church regularly for a very long time.  It's always a resolution or a  Lenten promise to go back, but I never follow through.  This time, however, I feel much different about it.  Maybe it's because I'm getting older and seeing the world through "adult" eyes for the first time.  Or maybe it's because I'm actually ready!

Well, I got "ashed."

During Lent some people choose to give a certain something up.  Back in 2009 I gave up Facebook and went the entire Lenten Season without it!  This year I'm going to do two things.
1. Volunteer at an Animal Welfare Shelter
(mom, I promise I will leave all the kitties at the shelter when my shift is over)
2. I'm going to participate in a 40-Day Bible Challenge.
My friend Nicole, who blogs over at Three 31, sent an email out about this challenge.  It's funny, because I had just asked some lady-friends for advice on how to start reading the Bible.  I've never just read it before and would like to.  
The Bible Challenge was created by Margaret Feinberg and it helps you to read through the New Testament in 40 days.  This link ~ 40-Day Bible Challenge -- Lent 2014 ~ will take you to Margaret's Reading Guide.  I'm looking forward to it!

What about you?  Are you doing anything special for Lent?