Today is Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent for us Catholics. If you’re Orthodox, however, you already got started on Clean Monday, the idea of which I like better. On Clean Monday, those of the Orthodox faiths will clean the house and fly kites, which I believe is synonomus with cleaning the soul, to get ready for the resurection. Meanwhile, us Latins are smearing dirt on our foreheads.

Jesting aside, there is a a great benefit from the Lenten season that others may not think of at first. Yes, it is a time of sacrifice and to be a little more subdued. It’s a time of reflection and of deep contemplation. Many would say it’s a time to do less: less indulging, less extraneous stuff.

But why can ‘ t it also be a time to do more?

More praying, more trusting, more improving?

A time to have more compassion, more patience, more understanding.

Lent is 40 days long. Usually people give something up for that time, butI never have any good ideas for things to givs up. So, I have decided that during Lent I wil, use this as a time to do more. I will pray more, I will think more. Yes, I’ll cut back on things I don’t need. (I plan to nix using spices until Easter). But I will also keep in mind the Orthodox teaching of cleaning out the soul and the mind. So I will also be exercising more and reading more as well. I will try to make more art and be creative. I will see friends and engage in conversation.

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit stick. So when we are halfway through Lent, we will have new habits in place, hopefully healthy ones!