How can I ever forget?
I was tempted to leave the post at that lone rhetorical question. Quite frankly, Ash Wednesday strikes me as a lot of self-serving theatre. It stands in contrast to Our Lord’s admonition on fasting to not make a great show about it as the Pharisees do. (St Matthew 6:16). And yet, I know we need reminders to maintain our journeys of spiritual growth. That journey is toward spending eternity with God.
Modern materialist culture gives us so much. At it’s most basic, famine is a very remote possibility for almost all of us. The now maligned childhood vaccinations have made deadly or crippling diseases a remote possibility. I remember poliomyelitis as a very real threat. I remember my Salk polio vaccination. and the later Sabin oral vaccination. Nobody complained. The iron lung wasn’t a joke, as it was in The Big Lebowski .
So we can easily conclude that thinking about eternity is hardly anybody’s first priority. Contemplating one’s sins is painful. It is supposed to be. Aspiring to eternal communion with God isn’t painful, but it doesn’t come to us easily. Maybe that is why there is Lent.