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Tuesday, February 17, 2015



Ash Wednesday ...

the 40 days of fasting that last 46 days.


The six Sundays in the period after Mardi Gras and before Easter are not counted since they are not fast days.

You learn something new every day, right?

The period of fasting is to parallel the 40 days of fasting Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan.

But what about those ashes?

Ash Wednesday by Carl Spitweg 
in Public Domain

Ash Wednesday gets its name from

the practice of blessing ashes made from Palm branches from the previous year's Palm Sunday.

Many adopt the practice of abstaining from something important to the individual during Lent.

I would nominate the ceaseless looking at the screen of your cell phone ...

to only use your phone to make essential calls.

People might actually start seeing the world around them again and,

you know,

communicate to the person not six inches from them.




But the authentic life is composed of off-screen moments.

When most people spend more time looking at tiny screens

than at the people and their surroundings,

they have become blind to the world.


Next Monday:
V R Barkowski

has me on her blog!


  1. Watching people watching screens wondering what everyone else is doing. . .doesn't leave much time for real life. . .I dislike the fact that we can be traced via our devices. . .but I do like using the camera on my phone.

  2. D.G.:
    I thought you might like using the camera on your phone. At least you are interacting with the world you see. Folks with heads bent staring at their smart phone screens just sadden me. Also the doctors say it injures the spine and neck, too. :-(

  3. I also like the idea of not just giving something up, but of having a specific devotion during Lent, whether it's to meditate or read or...

  4. It drives me crazy to see my daughter staring at her phone. That's a good one to give up, I like. I don't give up as much as I do something more. Like prayers, helping friends and family...and so on.

  5. Deniz:
    Good to see you here again! Yes, I like to make Lent special by adding one random act of kindness to each day of the season.

    It drives me crazy, too, to see people stumble blindly through the world, their eyes glued to their phone screens ... they are like walking parables of our oblivious society. Remove a practice; add a better one. I like it. :-)

  6. I'd love to see folks put down their phones. Phone obsession recently marked the end of a near-thirty year relationship for me. I refused to sit across from someone more interested in looking at his phone than having a conversation. Now he calls everyday. Talk about irony.

    VR Barkowski

  7. VR:
    We seem intent on self-destruction in our relationships by taking for granted those closest to us. Those in our lives have expiration dates. Heart attacks, drunk drivers, cancer -- many other things can take those we foolishly think will be with us for years.

    I hope things can improve between you and him. Irony seems to be a constant companion with us these days.

    I hope the winter storm is easing up on you!

  8. I'm not Catholic, but when my friends in school gave something up for Lent, I would too because I thought it was fun. I was an odd child. :P

    Phone obsession is one of those things that I find annoying. You can even have a conversation with anyone anymore without them looking at their phones!

  9. Chrys:
    I'm not Catholic either but Southwest Louisiana definitely is! You weren't odd: you were considerate. :-)

    Phone addiction is maddening to me, too!!!

  10. I would really love to see people give up their cell phones for Lent (except for emergencies or absolute necessity). True story: a colleague of mine was in Aspen and late one night was coming out of a bar on the mall. He noticed a black bear wandering along it and toward the entrance of the bar (a not uncommon occurrence in mountain areas). He then saw a guy coming out of the bar with his gaze fixed on his phone. The guy was so distracted he walked straight into the bear and freaked out, but so did the bear, which ran off.

  11. Helena:
    Wow! That bear almost had a meal delivered to him! I've seen YouTube videos of people walking into public fountains and one another so consumed were they by their cellphones!

  12. Thanks. Now I know what Ash Wednesday is. And I'm with you on cell phones...look around you, see the world out there. That includes getting away from staring all day at a computer screen. I don't do this anymore. I'm spending much more time looking out at the view, connecting face to face (real life, not on Facebook) with the people around me, etc. etc. I'm thinking myself back to the world in which I grew up, playing jump rope, jacks, marbles spring, summer, and fall with the neighborhood friends, etc. etc.

  13. Ann:
    Yes, everyone blind to the world around them as they stare transfixed at their phone screens saddens me.

    Memories are some of my best companions, too. :-)