Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A penance on Ash Wednesday

It often seems that when you are trying to do the most good is when you get shot down. A week ago (plus a day now) I had scheduled with Adam Graham to do a podcast "conservative blogging class" yesterday around 3pm Eastern. However, what I was not betting on was that my old college friend Kevin O'Brien would not arrive here until Monday night (we had expected Kevin Saturday) for a visit after returning from his annual two week deployment.

To top it all off, shortly after Kevin's arrival, I seem to have contracted what I can only describe as "the crud," a disorder which seems to involve my sinuses draining and a very heavy amount of chest congestion. Since I felt fine except for a stopped up nose Tuesday morning, I decided it wouldn't do me any harm to commence a full day of entertaining SSGT. O' Brien.

As it turned out, by the time we returned to the house yesterday, I was having trouble breathing due to the congestion in my chest. Upon going to bed, I could barely breathe at all. I got up and took a very hot shower and this seemed to clear away the worst of the problem. I awoke with a tightness in my chest by I am breathing a bit easier (if laborious).

All of this presages the fact that it is February 21st, this year today is Ash Wednesday on the Catholic liturgical calendar-Lent begins on this day.

It is a penitential season when Christians are called to renew their lives of service to God, through returning in a more vigorous way to the continual virtues of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to the poor and less fortunate. Customarily, in addition to rededicating ourselves to these virtues, we also have some sort of penitent act that indicates our own sorrow for our sins and shortcomings.

I suppose my Lenten penance involves being reminded of what it is like to be sickly the way that I was when I was young. I am still going to try and carry on as full a day as I am able-it is part of the sacrifice, I think.

This is the nature of sacrificing for others, and even for yourself-hardship refines you and makes you a better person



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