|Photo of St.Anne's Church Good Friday 2011|
Shrove Tuesday is the day which comes before Ash Wednesday; the first day in the Christian calendar of the period of Lent. Traditionally the use of foods, such as sugar, fat, eggs and flour were restricted during Lent, so a great way to use them up was to make pancakes. In some parts of the country, people celebrate by having pancake runs through their town. I especially think of Olney in Buckinghamshire, when I think of Pancake Runs.
However, after 'Pancake Day' comes Ash Wednesday. For Christians, this is the day that marks the beginning of a journey through Lent to Easter, the most important period of the Christian year. During Mass, at St. Anne's on Ash Wednesday, the congregation was told by Father Boniface that Lent is a time for reflection, repentance and prayer.
Although many people in Ormskirk might not consider themselves Christians and that this reflection, repentance and prayer isn't something they do, they will still out of habit, nominally observe some of the other Christian traditions associated with this time of year. One is Pancake day and another is "giving something up for Lent".
Some people might say "I don't believe in God" or "I don't do religion" and there are others, "non-practising Christians", who don't observe the other Lentern Christian rites and traditions. Nevertheless, many of them will still "give something up for Lent" Why?
|Perhaps, just one bite....|
Firstly, we go through the process of identifying what it is we should give up, secondly, why we should give it up and then thirdly, we hope that we have sufficient willpower to actually give it up.
Our choice could be eating chocolate, drinking coffee, alcohol or smoking. Why do we encourage our children to do likewise? We go through the same thought process with our kids and then encourage them to to stop arguing with their siblings or eating sweets, "....just until Easter"
Why do we do it? Perhaps, it's because we somehow recognise that giving up something can actually be be good for us; good for our health, good for our relationships or perhaps just good for our pockets.
As was said earlier, this is a period of reflection, repentance and prayer. Changing aspects of our lives for the better, whether you believe yourself to be a Christian or not, is in keeping with the period of Lent.
If you're interested on finding out more about the meaning of Lent, you can click here to read Pope Benedict XVI Catechesis (teaching) regarding Lent.
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