I’m not a particularly religious person these days. Boo was baptized in the Catholic church and JW and I were married there, but I suspect that for me, that’s more cultural than anything else, and because I find comfort in rituals.
When I lived in Italy, I loved sliding into pews for Mass because no matter where you are, Catholic mass is the same. The rhythm, the smell, the kneeling and sitting and standing, it’s the same no matter where you are and that’s immensely comforting when you’re nineteen and thousands of miles from home.
Plus I’m really into the whole crowd of saints that hangs out in the belief system of the Catholic Church. Trust me, you guys, I need all the help I can get, and having a patron saint for just about everything is useful.
We obviously also all know that there are unsavory things about religion and church and I don’t pretend that it’s not there. I have a lot of feelings about it. I especially have a lot of feelings about it after I watched Spotlight with JW a couple weeks ago and just generally felt like, gross, after.
So these days I subscribe to good energy and being open and listening to my Mom, who has always said that you don’t need religion to just be nice to people, and she’s right, obviously, because she usually is.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, that Ash Wednesday is my favorite part of the Catholic calendar because I like nothing more than when the priest outlines a cross on my forehead and reminds me that you were made from dust and from dust you shall return.
Morbid, I know.
But for me, it’s like someone singing the Circle of Life, or reminding me that everything is cyclical.
It’s a relief really, and a reminder to not take any of this too seriously.
I’m probably reading it wrong, but it’s my right to do that too, I think.
Despite not being a fully-believing Catholic these days, I am into Pope Francis, because I believe he’s got the right idea on a lot of things, and he’s reminding us this Lenten season that “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”
So basically the Pope and my Mom agree on this one- if you’re gonna use the next forty days and nights to do anything, use it to be nice, chickens.
And if you don’t believe in any of it, just be nice anyway.
It won’t cost you anything, I promise.