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______________ Tuesday

21February2012

You fill in the blank: Fat Tuesday.  Shrove Tuesday.  Mardi Gras.

Whatever term you use, it is the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, and the beginning of our walk towards Holy Week. If you look at any websites or news coverage of “Mardi Gras” you will readily get the message: Party Hearty!

Well, I’m not really into crowds, or parades or rowdy parties, so I’m not going to look for that kind of place today.

However, I am spending some time reflecting upon the abundance that can move my heart from being contented and comforted (and grateful) to a place where it becomes greedy, and, quite frankly, spoiled. There are parts of my life where I do need to watch out for “too much of a good thing”. Some of those areas are visible to others, and, thankfully, I have many mentors in my life who help me stay on track in the areas where I may be tempted towards self-indulgence.

I need to go deeper.

I want to be truthful and look beyond my visible behavior.

Much of what I do (or attempt to do) makes up the image that I think would make me most acceptable to a particular place or group of people. This repertoire of “stuff” is the mask that I wear. I have quite an array of masks, for that matter.

I go places, say things, and do things that take me into a world of pretense. That’s not always a bad or harmful thing.  There are countless situations where social convention helps me function in harmony (a good thing), even if it is at the expense of my authenticity. (over time, a bad thing!)

I’ve learned the value of wearing a mask, and at times even the fun of it! But after the fact I often look at the time that just passed and say “What was that about?” “That wasn’t the REAL me!”

Wisdom, I think, is in knowing when I have donned a mask, and why I have chosen this or that particular demeanor in lieu of being transparent. Was it just for fun? Was it for the good of the other?  Was it because the “real” me was closer to sin and imperfection than to the image of Christ?

We are all invited today to look into our pantries and closets and wherever we store our “stuff”. Take some time today to reflect lightly upon all of it.  Play with it if you want, and trust that Christ will be with you throughout this season of Lent to reveal what is most essential and good in the interest of life for the sake of others.

May this Tuesday before Ash Wednesday … whatever you call it… be blessed!

ptc@ccd

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