Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ash Wednesday one year ago

Remembering a year ago and so grateful for the health God is restoring to me this year. 
[a repost from February 13, 2013 Ash Wednesday]
Three years ago I had an emergency surgery on Valentine's Daygave up my gall bladder for Lent.  This year, on Ash Wednesday, my doctor burned away the lining of my uterus, once a blanket of sustenance for my children, no longer sustaining life but harming it.

Later in the day, after Brian'd driven me home from surgery, our priests arrived at the front door, carrying a baggie of ashes, a little wine, a little bread.  While my freshly-abused insides blistered healing, they applied a charry cross to my forehead.  I've never felt so attuned to the reality of decay.  A reverse sacrament -- visible signs of inward death.

I've never tasted sweeter grace -- breaking the medical fast with broken bread, sipping pungent wine.  After my surgery three years ago, I did not receive kindness well. What was intended for love to me felt like pain.

 Christ's life is growing in me.

This time, the kind care of the hospital nurses, the pastoral prayers of our priests, my husband's sign of the cross over me as I rolled into surgery, hugs and chocolate-covered strawberries from my concerned children, prayer messages sent from friends --  all of it -- reminding me that even while we remember death His easter is alive in us.

If you -- like me -- are still not sure what commitment to make to the Christ we journey with through Lent, I recommend this excellent and brief instruction from Fr. Matt Kennedy, rector at Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, NY: What to Give Up For Lent

"Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east." Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Wreck of the Deutschland

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