Every year beginning on Ash Wednesday (hmmm….. THAT IS TODAY!) and going to March 30 (the day before Easter Sunday), millions of Christians embark on their annual Lenten observance. Some choose to “give up” something while others choose to “do something more” to commemorate the journey which Christ made during his 40 days of trials and temptations in the desert. James 1:14. I have always felt that by doing something, you automatically give up time spent that you would normally be doing something you enjoy doing more (unless you decide to give up chocolate or something like that). Looking back, I have found that I have been more of the doing than “giving up” type. Making sure that I do more to help others than going out of my way to focus on myself.
Going slightly off track but with a point, earlier this week saw an event in the Catholic Church which has not been seen in 598 years. Pope Benedict XVI has resigned his post. Normally (only 8 previous pontifs have previously stepped aside), the head of the Catholic Church is elected for life. Officially, there are no laws to govern resignation due to incapacitation. Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II not only considered the possibility of stepping aside but many sources felt that he should have done so. However, Vatican officials always ruled out the idea. Yesterday, one of my friends had this to say on Benedict’s decision:
It seems that the Pope is being a great example for Lent. He’s giving up something in order to trust God and follow Jesus more closely than he felt he was presently doing as Pope.
He is showing Roman Catholic Christians that his first love is God over church. We can all learn something from that!
So, while the conclave is sealed inside the Sistine Chapel effectively quarantined from outside influence, the world can pray and take part in their own Lenten practices while the new head of the Catholic Church is decided.