Today is Ash Wednesday. It begins the 40 day liturgical season of prayer and fasting before Easter. As Catholics, we're called to sacrifice. My kids and I struggle every year with what we're "going to give up." Last year Austin said that he was giving up ice cream. Sounds good. But then I thought about it. "Austin, how often do we eat ice cream? That's not really a sacrifice, is it?" I am very good at pointing out the hang-ups in my children's Lenten sacrifices. But what did I give up last year? Uhmmm, nothing. Yep friends, I'm a hypocrite.
I gave up chocolate one year and I was a complete and nasty witch. I tried to give up pop one year. But the headaches were awful. I could try to give up smoking. But I don't even want to think how miserable everyone would be around here. So everyone can forget that. Decisions, decisions.
As I typed this post I began to think about some changes that I could make. Make the necessary changes to be a better person. I opened my bible today. It fell open to Psalm 50: The Acceptable Sacrifice. I kid you not! Verse 14-15 says: "Offer praise as your sacrifice to God; fulfill your vows to the Most High. Then call on me in time of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall honor me."
I remembered this morning that God already knows my heart. He already knows my fears and His plan for my life is laid out before me. He already knows what I will ask of Him. But I have to remember that while my God is a merciful God, St James reminds us that faith without works is dead. (James 3:26 - "For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." It is not enough that I have faith in God and in His merciful nature. I must change the way I view the world and others. I am turning my problems, fears and worries over to God this morning. He will deliver me from them. And I will praise God and bring Him glory.
Lenten Thought for the Day: Do something kind for someone anonymously.