What I’m giving up and taking on for Lent:
My snooze button. This is something I seriously depend on each day. It’s going to sound like a “first world problem” but it is a real crutch of mine to hit my snooze button at least 4, 5, maybe even 6 times before actually getting out of bed. In its stead, the time will be taken up by prayer.
Today was the first day. The pattern of thoughts after hearing my alarm were:
I’m going to hit the snooze and sleep a little.
Wait, I can’t, today is the start of Lent.
Is it too late to change my commitment?
Well, I survived.
As a convert, each year I seem to forget that Ash Wednesday is not a day of obligation. The week prior I remind myself to make sure my family goes. Then the announcement comes from the pulpit: it’s not an obligation. Really?
Coming back to Rome meant several adjustments in my conversion. I didn’t know and understand all the days of obligation but I was more than willing to comply. Some of them surprised me, I admit, but as a convert I would expect that Ask Wednesday ranks as an obligation day.
Protestants have few days outside of Christmas and Easter that are special and one happens to land on a Sunday, Palm Sunday, so Protestants are likely in a pew anyway. But Ash Wednesday is different. It is not on a Sunday and yet Protestants still recognize it to a good extent above other days of the year. One could say that it is quite liturgical to a Protestant.
Perhaps it is the Protestant in me and there is something I am not considering, but it seems to be one of the highest days of the year. All of that being said, this year I realized that I wish Ash Wednesday was a day of obligation.
Everything else about Ash Wednesday? Jimmy Akin answers on EWTN.