aspects of the Lent/Easter season make it more attractive to me than Advent/Christmas. Is it obvious that I would appreciate a political execution over a baby's birth? Today marks the beginning of the "lengthening" days of Lent, and the press toward spring is ridiculously apparent, since it's actually almost hot outside.
Today is also the day you can see who is Catholic, for the best ones are wearing it on their (sleeves) foreheads. It's a day when the "fallen" come back to the fold and try for 40 days of repentence. (The Sundays are not counted.)
The smudge of black may look like a guilt sign, but back in Catholic grade school, you'd feel guilty if you didn't have one. You always hoped to get the younger priest, the one who didn't make you look like you fell head-first into a barbecue grill. The coolest girls (picture plaid skirts and white shirts) would bow their heads back at the pew and surreptitiously brush the ashes away. "How does it look now?" they whispered to each other, not daring to pull out a mirror. God forbid if Sister saw you touch your head. . .
One day without vanity is not too much to ask.
It can be when someone is making you devanitize, but no one makes me go to church anymore. For some reason, I didn't hear any church bells today, only the neighbor's Harley at 5 a.m.
Morning masses are over, and while I do not have last year's burned Palm Sunday fronds on my face, I find the chant that goes along with the ritual one worth repeating:
Remember, man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shall return.