Today marks (literally) the season of Lent – 40 days of fasting, prayer and alms-giving. It’s the day when the palm leaves from last Easter are burnt to ashes and these ashes are marked on foreheads to signify our mortality. I'll be going to Mass later on to receive the ashes on my forehead (provided I can leave work in good time)
As a Christian (definitely not in the strictest sense!) I’ve tended to not necessarily fast, but give up something, e.g. chocolate or crisps or fizzy drinks. I reckon one of the hardest things I gave up was rice….especially as at the time I was not a fan of spaghetti or pasta…times have changed since then.
I suppose that until a few years ago I went through the motions of Lent because it was expected of me. Being raised in a Christian home and going to a Catholic primary school and secondary school, Lent was significant and everyone was expected to do their part and a lot of people did, without knowing exactly why or necessarily gaining any benefit. Now I’m a big girl, I feel I have a better understanding of Lent for myself and appreciation of it. It’s a time to take a step back, reflect and take control – that’s something we all need to do once in a while regardless of your faith or beliefs.