Ash Wednesday is a day on which we are reminded that we “are dust and unto dust we shall return.” The prophet Joel, that we read every Ash Wednesday, urges us to perform the traditional penitential acts of: prayer, fasting, and alms giving. “Fast” normally means “doing without something in hope of deepening our relationship with God.” “Fast” can also mean “quick.” Most of us are addicted to this type of “fast:” we drive 5 miles above the speed limit; we eat “fast food;” we buy anything that promises to do the job faster.
This Lent, maybe we should slow down some. Instead of “giving up” chocolate, maybe we get up 10 minutes earlier; drive more calmly; and walk through life more gently. Slow yourself down and be attentive to what you do. “God of all mindfulness, slow us down long enough to become conscious of Your presence.”