Hello and welcome to this year's grand opening of the season of Lent. Got your ashes yet? Not me, I'm planning on hitting a noon Mass somewhere.
I live in Minnesota, but I'm a native New Yorker. There are lots of things I miss about New York, but one of the things I miss most of all, this time of year anyway, is the Subway Ashes. One day in early spring I was riding the escalator up from my train to the surface, and at the top of the escalator was a young man in a clerical collar, with a dish of ashes in his hands. He was ashing people on their way to work. There were more priests stationed at the turnstiles. I thought it was brilliant. New Yorkers are the most rushing people in the world, but everyone had time to get smudged in the subway. It was awesome.
Nothing like that here, alas. Hard to even find a church where you can zip in for a quick smudge- notice I said "quick." For impatient types like me that's important.
So what are your plans? Giving up chocolate, or coffee, or Facebook? Fasting from your iPod? Making a serious attempt to get to daily Mass more often? I've already signed off Facebook for the next six weeks. I feel better already. Maybe I'll stop plugging my ears every time that annoying "Kars for Kids" ad come on the radio.
Whatever you've decided to do, I wish you the best of luck in sticking to your Lenten resolutions. Remember it's only for a few weeks, and at the end of it all is the Resurrection. Let's get ready, people!