Today starts the longest 40 days of the year: Lent. I kept up a small tradition of getting a photograph on the way to work at the church I attend for Ash Wednesday mass. Today it was All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody, Georgia.
One thing struck me in the morning mass, and it was the fact that Catholics on this day are called to put a sign of repentance on our foreheads. A mark that we have sinned and now must begin to the repentance and change needed to draw closer to God. God's mercy is boundless, but it is not available unless we make the internal and external corrections changing our live's to match God's law.
This evening (I unexpectedly had to take the big kids since the pregnant momma was feeling ill at noon) the priest specifically cited challenges of our times. He reminded us of how easy the internet puts threats to marriage, sanctity, chastity, integrity and life in God in front of us. In many ways, instead of making our lives easier it makes resisting the challenges of evil harder. He reminded all of us, our guard cannot drop. The reality is though, we are human and our guard will drop.
As a result, this season of reflection and penance is more necessary than ever for us. It is our chance to refocus our lives towards God. It is our chance to review where new threats from evil enter our lives, how they hurt our community here on earth.
I think most people know this. My wife reminded me tonight Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States. Despite this fact, she said more people will attend service today on any Holy Day of Obligation on the calendar outside of Easter and Christmas!
So in a world which filled the headlines with wicked spiritual warfare from ISIS, a mayor fired a respected and honorable fire chief for the sin of speaking his faith like Pilgrims did, and people steal identities like a monsoon brings rain...we have a sign of hope from the Holy Spirit. Today more Catholics (and the Anglicans I saw waving on the street for people to come in and visit) went to church to start righting themselves with God's law just because they KNOW THEY NEED GOD to achieve the potential greatness he laid in their souls at conception.
Pretty nice thought if you ask me.
P.S. Fujifilm XT-1 with 35mm. Liking the camera more everyday. It just works without getting in my way.