A day late and a dollar short, Lent began yesterday. Yet, yesterday was a busy day. I could not attend Mass or receive ashes. That is no great sin as Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation. Missing the Mass was not a sin, but it was my loss. Fortunately the readings for that Mass are always the same: go into your inner room to pray, don’t put fasting on display. That is the contradicting part of Lent. The Mass is communal, and the ashes an outward sign. Thus there was no contradiction this time. This Lent is private. It is a personal challenge. Few around me observe the fast, fewer observe the abstinence. Not many approve of my Religion, or any religions. A day with many outward signs, becomes invisible. It becomes the secret handshake, cryptic so that only those that need to know, know. Properly the day or season doesn’t involve everyone, nor does it exclude anyone.
Part of the readings speak of going into the inner room to pray signifies the room that is a person’s soul. It is turning inward. The phrase does remind me of something else though. It reminds me of the inner room of the Temple of Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies. It’s the room few were granted admission to, it as limited to the high priests. Contrast a room that was exclusive by law, to the inner room of the soul. One room excludes by law and enforcement, the other is not reached for lack of effort. One is blocked off by others, the other isn’t entered through ones own fault.