Lent can be a time of reflection for everyone

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2012

The parades are over and the cleanup is done. The raucousness of the Carnival season has given way to the quiet reflection of Lent.

That is saying something in a place such as the New Orleans area where the party never seems to stop, even for funerals.

But it is truly strange and inspiring to watch the transformation each year as those wearing wild costumes in the city on Tuesday can be seen in church on Wednesday receiving ashes on their foreheads. It makes one wonder which is really the disguise or if it is simply two facets of the same individual. In reality, it is probably a little mixture of both, which is one of the reasons masking on Mardi Gras became a custom in the first place.

Lent is also marked by Catholics — and Mardi Gras is originally a Catholic celebration locally — by giving up something for the 40-day span. However, as Catholicism becomes less and less pervasive locally, the custom is not quite as prevalent as it once was. But that doesn’t mean Lent no longer has any significance.

Of course, for Catholics and other Christians it still marks the period before Easter Sunday, but it can hold importance, even for those who do not prescribe to the Christian faith.

It is very easy to get caught up in one’s job, social life, family, gadgets and whatever else consumes the modern citizen to the point of forgetting one’s true nature.

But unlike those who wear masks on Fat Tuesday, these are masks that can be difficult to remove. So, regardless of whether you’re Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or whatever, take a cue from the Catholics and set aside a little time this Lent for personal reflection.

It’s time to show the world your true face.