Mommy Mantra for Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016
“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Last weekend we saw the movie “Hail Caesar!” The movie is set in the 1950’s and one of the main characters was very Catholic who prayed his rosary when seeking wisdom about a problem, went to Reconciliation, daily. The movie directed by the Cohen Brothers, treated the faith very respectfully.
That Sunday our pastor had a wonderful homily: For him, he is a priest in his very early 60’s, Lent is a time to look at what God is calling you to change, not just giving something up but being willing to accept new positive habits, becoming a new person, being resurrected with Christ as someone profoundly changed. He recalled his childhood and early teens when “Catholic Guilt” was in full flower. When he was young the idea of God’s love was the same as love in the 50’s – 60’s, no matter what you do it isn’t going to be good enough.
The movie has the Catholic main character going to Reconciliation every 24 hours. Something I know from my own childhood was very common, in fact required to be seen as a Catholic in good standing. The priest character listening to his sins is so gently trying to tell him that he didn’t need to come every day, (something I know wouldn’t have had happen, that was more a reflection of today). Our pastor’s homily comes to mind, now reflecting on the Reconciliation scenes, the fact so many would gravel to God. The Catechism, here I paraphrase, states that a Catholic in good standing are obliged to confess their serious sins at least once a year (CIC 989), but the minimum should not be made a maximum. Catholics should come to confession as soon as possible after they’ve committed a mortal sin. If they’re seeking to grow in holiness, the regular practice of confession at least once a month is commended. For God desires steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
Lent as I understand is probably as exactly as Jesus wanted from the beginning: Spiritual Renewal.
Happy Ash Wednesday