Ash Wednesday

I love the lyric, “if grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.” I frequently feel like I am sinking, but I never remember that it’s grace that’s drowning me.

Today is the first day of Lent, and I am overwhelmed by God already. As I have indicated, I have a difficult time memorizing Scripture, but I am diligently trying to memorize the Sermon on the Mount for Lent. By tackling a portion of it each day, I think I will do it, and I had it memorized at one time so it shouldn’t be too difficult, right? I have the Beatitudes and the salt and light down pat. From there on out it’s a story-ish. I hope that makes it easier. Every day, in the section of my posts where I list the food I eat and the exercise I do, I will write what I have memorized of the Sermon.

I have also started praying the prayer rope. I am doing it in a pretty focused and strict way, but I pray it on the bus. The act of praying on the bus is helping me to have a less stressful day. I am more able to focus on God at the beginning of the day and that focus seems to help me not get so stressed about what the day might hold in store for me. Like today, for example, I lost my ID and my iPod. I misplaced the little pouch that I keep them in. I was pretty sad because I have had that ID since 1992, but when I was praying, I recognized that in the grand scheme of thing, my ID is a very small thing.

The way I pray my prayer rope is this: Apostle’s Creed at the cross, then Lord, have mercy on me until the first bead, then the Lord’s Prayer, then Kyrie eleison until the next plastic bead, then Lamentations 3:22-23. I keep doing that repetition until I reach the middle, then I meditate on the Sermon on the Mount. I return to the repetition until I return to the cross where I recite the Apostle’s Creed. I have time to make one full revolution on the rope from my house to RB. Sometimes I can make another whole revolution while I walk to or from RB, and on those days I feel much more settled and can rest in the knowledge that God’s grace is abundant for me. I can drown in it.


I am thankful for the nice, albeit small, track in Ball Gym.

Food: banana, juice, almonds and M&Ms, chocolate milk, leftover spaghetti, soy peanut butter sandwich, salad with two fake chicken thingys

Exercise: walked the dogs, walked from RB to Burris and back, then to the SC and back to RB, ran 4.5 miles

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up and sat on the mountainside. His disciples came to him and he began to teach them saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all sorts of things against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for they did the same to the prophets before you. You are the salt of the world. If salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything. It should be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill should not be hidden. Do you light a candle just to put it under a basket? Instead you light a candle, place it on a table, and its light can be seen be everyone in the house. Let your light so shine before others, so they can see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

3 responses to “Ash Wednesday

  1. This is probably an ignorant Catholic’s question, but is a prayer rope the same thing or similar thing as a rosary necklace?

  2. It’s similar to the rosary, but you mostly use it to pray the Jesus Prayer, which is “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” They became popular for people who were not monks/nuns when John Bunyan wrote his classic text, Pilgrim’s Progress. In short, he started his pilgrimage wondering what it meant to pray unceasingly, and discovered the Jesus prayer. When prayed correctly, the prayer mimics the natural rhythms of your body and becomes something that is perpetually on your lips.

  3. unfinishedportraitofsam

    i love this. i can see you on the bus, praying this. 🙂 i need to look up the Jesus prayer and read more about it. i’d never known what you just said.

    i should have suggested the BG track to you earlier! it was a gift to me in the winters because there was rarely anyone there and, combined with a good podcast or book on tape, i found i could run for a LONG time and just lose myself in the rhythm of round and round. kind of like swimming a 500. or praying the rosary. it’s that over and over that can either be tedious or thankful.

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