More than a month ago, I took my decent Catholic ex-school girl butt to church to have ashes placed on my forehead. It was one of those Catholic traditions that didn’t put too much thought into—I ran from work to church and my mind was on grocery lists and war tactics for cleaning my room. Yeah yea, I know it was a reminder that we came from dust (thank you Papa Adam and Mama Eve) and we’ll eventually return to dust blah blah blah.
Today I stumbled upon a reminder of that day as well as what Lent has been about… and in addition I realized… Catholics are pretty, cool morbid dudes with a method to the madness.
The Capuchin Crypt (aka Crimetero di Capuccini) of Rome is now on my bucket list. A church decorated in bones! Arches made of skulls! A kaleidescope of pelvises! But… how weird… why?
The answer can lie within a sign inside the church, “What you are now, we used to be. What we are now… you will be.”
As the days of Lent wind to a close, we’re not supposed to just give up something for 40 days– Ash Wednesday was meant to make us of our mortality:
Do I spend so much time making my body perfect?
Yes—treat it with respect and give it love and nurture (after all it was a gift from God), but don’t hold onto it as though it’s all you have and all you will be remembered for.
How do I want to be remembered?
Seriously—when you die will anyone talk about your ability to catch all 150 Pokemon in two days? (and if they do… that’s pretty sad)
If you died tomorrow, would you be happy with your current status in life?
Bottom line—you better be enjoying your time here on earth and not doing it at the expense of other’s enjoyment (because that’s wrong). And through God you’ll find maximum fulfillment—surprise! You’re not just a sack of skin with dreams anymore!
So… Lent is not just about giving up chocolate or Facebook. It’s about looking at your own life and realizing that all of the stupid clutter you place on yourself doesn’t matter in the long run. Things that make you happy– does it really? I’m pretty sure we can’t bring chocolate into heaven (it’s okay– the angels probably have better chocolate-crack-on-a-roller-coaster to get high on anyway)
Looking at all those pictures of bones, I see former people who enjoyed life, ate food, and laughed with friends– just like me… and now their physical part is just bones. It doesn’t matter what they owned or looked like.
“What you are now, we used to be. What we are now… you will be.”