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Lent – A Ritual Worth “Giving Up”

Note:  This a re-post of something I wrote a few years ago

For those of the “christian” faith, and i use that term “christian” loosely (you’ll find out why in a couple paragraphs), you’re familiar with the terms “Lent” and “Ash Wednesday“.  For those who need some history, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs forty days before Easter (excluding Sundays).  Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance. The ashes used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned.  (more info about AW here)

I understand the significance of lent and ash wednesday, but from an early age as a child of Catholic parents, I’ve always had a problem with these observances (at face value).  And as I aged, matured, and developed a greater understanding of God and my relationship with Him, my view of these practices and this time of year has only been reinforced.

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March 16, 2011 — Leave a comment

Since I created a facebook account over 2 years ago, I’ve reconnected with so many friends and family.  I’ll get a message or friend request from someone I knew some 10 – 15 years ago at least once a month.  Most of the time I accept these new friend requests, unless the person is straight up crazy.  ha.

Well, I received a random message recently from an old friend that was very encouraging.  We don’t know how powerful our words are until someone comes to you later with a message like his.  Here is what he said:

“Hey brotha! I just felt to tell you this, or remind you of something you told me along time ago that has always echoed in my mind. I was attempting that handrail at the original Dex skate park one time and crashed, i got upset and threw my bike from off of me and said, ” i hate this @%!#$@ bike!”, and you were right there and looked to me and said, “it’s not the bike . . . it’s the rider.” I have always took that as this, its not what we are going through, but how we go through it. I have really never kept it in practice, but i have never forgotten that… You may not have meant it that way or you may have, but i took it that way i guess because i knew i was not living right way back then and for a long time after… So i’m just saying thanks for speaking up.”

I’m pretty certain that I was just being Hector when I made that sarcastic statement, but it’s interesting what he got out of it and what it even means to him to this day.  He also has no idea how timely his message to me was.  It was very encouraging and exactly what I needed to hear that day.

We’re all going through something I’m sure.  Some more than others.  How we go through it or who we go through it with is what’s important.  With what has recently happened in Japan, I want to dedicate this post to our Japanese friends.  If we put things in perspective, I’m sure most of us could say that nothing we’re going through right now could compare to what that country is currently dealing with.  Entire villages/towns were wiped away in minutes.  Thousands of families are without homes and many will never find their missing loved ones.  Is one person’s crisis greater than another?  Not sure.  It all comes down to perspective.  Your car broke down and you have no money to fix it?  Ok, sorry about that, but think about the family who had to watch their entire town disappear before their eyes as one giant wave of water picked it up and carried it away.  Makes that car issue sound a little small doesn’t it?

Whatever you’re going through, just remember  “it’s not what we are going through, but how we go through it”.  Perspective.  God.  Friends.  Family.  Your loyal little puppy who licks your face when you’re crying.  The key is to GET THROUGH it.  The Japanese have a word or phrase “Ganbaru”.  It translates to mean “never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give up!”

Ganbaru everyone.  Ganbaru.

– Hector


I know, the last blog post in here is dated August 29th.  Those very few followers that I may have had for a little while are probably wondering where i’ve been or disappeared altogether, just as I have.  My intentions for this blog were to be a source of encouragement for readers and provide inspiration for others to “make a shift” and do something awesome with their lives.

Well, that would have been kinda hard over the past few months, especially with a lot that’s been going on in my life.  There hasn’t been a whole lot of encouragement to give out since I myself have been the one needing to be encouraged.  Yes, these past few months have been crazy and life changing.  Lots of ups and downs, but I’m working through them and learning from it all.

If i had anything to share with you today, it would be this.  This life is not easy and it was never intended to be “easy”.  We are going to face challenges everyday.  Some of them will be small and others will bring us to our knees, but they are what they are.  What we do with these challenges and what we learn from them is the big question.  We all handle trials differently.  Some of us try to run from them.  Others react negatively.  And some of us embrace them.  However you handle the challenges in your life, don’t do it alone.  Hopefully we all have family, friends, or other people in our lives that we can turn to for support.  And if you believe in God or a “higher” power, allow Him to walk with you through this.  He can prove to be the best friend you ever had while going through your “stuff”.

I’ll be back to blogging regularly very soon.  I love to write and it’s very therapeutic.  My next post will include an update about a children’s book i’m working on.  Thanks to a good friend of mine who helped push me to get it started.  I now need to follow through with it and get it done.  thanks for following and visiting.

– Hector


This post isn’t support for the National Day of Prayer, which took place yesterday, but more of my interpretation of Obama’s avoidance of the country wide observance.  The Day was established as a national observance by President Truman in 1952, and since then, most presidents have gladly taken part in public participation of the day.  More than most, President George W. Bush took his observance a step further and gathered with religious leaders of all faiths on a yearly basis to pray for the country and world.  A proclamation in writing usually accompanied the public observances.

However, yesterday, President Obama confused supporters of the day by not participating and clearly going out of his way to avoid it altogether.  He stated that he would issue a proclamation, rather than participate publicly as his predecessor did.  The proclamation was released later, with only one reference to “God”.

Obama’s lack of  “participation” left many asking “Why?” and questioning this president’s motives.  My opinion is that this move could be Obama’s way of distancing himself from any type of religious observance that would in turn expose who he really is and who he really worships.  Since his introduction into the world as a presidential candidate, his religious beliefs have always been in question, and left unclear. By only providing a “proclamation”, which some view as a cop-out, this man will be able to stay away from any form of public prayer to a “christian” God, which is what the majority of this nation would expect (take note that this country was founded on “christian” principles and beliefs).

There is a large amount of information already available that would suggest or even support that Obama is not a “christian”, as he says he is, but a follower of muslim religion (Islam). Avoiding taking part in the national day of prayer by introducing the “proclamation” allowed Obama to dodge this bullet . . . this time.


Last week I posted my thoughts about the religious observance we all know of as “Lent” and “Ash Wednesday”. “Fat Tuesday” can be grouped with these other two, which we all know of as “Mardi Gras”.  By definition, mardi gras actually means “fat tuesday”.  In essence and in layman’s terms, Fat Tuesday is the day that a person get’s as much “sin” out of their system before Ash Wednesday, which is when they say, “Ok, sorry for all the sin i did yesterday God, but here I am to make up for it and promise to be ‘good'”.  That is, of course, until Easter comes, which is when observers forget their “promise” and start all over again.

Well, my view on this “season” or these “observances” can be misinterpreted as me “hating” on the church or more specifically, hating on Catholicism.  I “hate” neither, but I will admit that I don’t care much for religious observances or rituals for the sake of the ritual.  My love for God runs deep, and my passion for speaking against rediculous “rituals” runs just as deep.

Because I was raised within the Catholic church, all of my thoughts on this subject are based on true & honest experience.  And believe me, the Catholic church is full of rituals and observances that I’ll always question and speak out on.   For example, I remember one Christmas Eve service when I was 10 or 11, where the priest stood at the altar with a plastic baby doll (was supposed to by symbolic of baby Jesus), and members lined up to kiss the doll.  What is that all about?   For one, it’s not biblical, and two, it’s rediculous.

With that said, I’ll always call things as I see them, and I’ll be 100% honest in doing so.  I’ll concentrate on the essentials, and the non-essentials will be put to the test.  God wants our hearts, and isn’t interested in rituals that we think keep us in right standing with Him.  Those days were destroyed with the arrival and sacrifice of Jesus.  By continuing with religion and rituals, we’re pretty much saying to God, “Um, I know that Jesus was the bridge to you God, but because I don’t want to give myself to you 100%, let me comfort myself with these rituals so that I can at least “feel” better.  Ok God?”.

Any thoughts?  Would love to hear them.  Thanks for stopping by.