Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lent began in an interesting way this year...

Lent approached me in a different manner this year. About a week before Lent began which was also a week before my scheduled trip to the International Congress hosted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity for the occasion of the twentieth year celebration of Mulieris Dignitatem, my daughter and I became victims of a car accident. We were just minding our own business - driving home from some errands, allowing a pedestrian to cross the street, when a truck came up from the rear and failed to stop behind us and instead plowed through the back of our SUV.

There's much to say about the accident and all that it entailed and I did start to blog about it over at my "Embracing Motherhood" blog. However, I couldn't continue because of the injuries. But, I think it's pretty interesting that two EMT's just happened to be steps away from us at the time of the collision. God was clearly looking out for us. I am also certain that something very profound happened in the Emergency Room during a conversation between myself and the young man who hit us. But that will have to be told at a later time.

For now, I'll just say that Lent approached in this way - bringing some very good penitential suffering for me and my daughter through our injuries. Even so, on Ash Wednesday morning, by the grace of God, my daughter and I were sitting in the very front row of Pope Benedict's Wednesday audience at the Vatican, just counting our blessings and thanking God. God is so good!

Later that day we would be looking for ashes. There we were in Rome where Catholic Churches are a plenty. However, not knowing Italian or the various schedules, we hoped we would be able to be in the right place at the right time. After we found out about a Mass at St. Peter's, we tried to get in but were shooed away by the guards because the Mass had already started and we were considered to be tourists and not real Church goers. No amount of pleading worked with this guard. We came to find out that there would be a 5:00 PM Mass with ashes at St. Peter's.

Knowing that we had a Mass we could go to, we were off to do a bit of touring around Rome and returned for the 5:00 PM Mass. When the ashes were distributed during the Mass we could see the people returning to their seats with clean foreheads. Where were the ashes? When we reached the front of the Church we were given our ashes - sprinkled on top of our heads! So, that was my first experience receiving ashes in Rome - and what a blessing to receive them at St. Peter's! I felt very relieved in my heart that evening because I didn't want to begin Lent without our ashes. Our Lord had it all taken care of. :)

I'll fill you in tomorrow about another blessing in Rome.

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