Tag Archives: Sacrifices

Beginning of Lent

Yesterday, 5th March was Ash Wednesday. It was the first day of the forty days’ Lenten fast preceding Easter. The ash used is made from burning Palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. It’s then blessed by the priest, who then puts it on people’s foreheads in the form of a sign of the cross. The ash serves as a reminder that human beings came from dust and to dust we shall return.

ash wednesday

Additionally, in the early days before soap was discovered, ash was used for cleaning. In this case therefore, the ash also symbolizes cleansing. In ancient times, the use of ash was an outer manifestation of mourning and repentance. In Job 42:6, after realizing his mistakes about questioning the will of God Job said, “So I am ashamed of all I have said and repent in dust and ashes.” Ash therefore shows that a sombre mood characterises the Lenten season; purple vestments are used by priests.

The three pillars of lent are fasting, reflection/penance and alms giving. It’s a period where people are called to reflect on their relationship with God. Sin separates us from God; it’s precisely for this reason that the need for repentance is greatly emphasized. It’s also a season of self-denial. People are encouraged to give up the things that pull them away from the grace of God; things they feel weaken their faith as Christians. If, for instance, anger makes you do things you regret later, give up on the anger.

The faithful are also encouraged to sacrifice the things they love. Basically this is a time of repentance; therefore we should deny ourselves those things that afford us pleasure in life. Whatever one chooses to sacrifice, they are asked to give it to the needy.

The forty days’ fast is an imitation of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, where He was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4: 1-11), immediately after His baptism. He went there to prepare Himself for the great mission He was about to embark on. During this Lenten season, we are reminded of our mortality, so we can realize the need to reflect on the relationship we have with God and repent our sins before it’s too late.

We are reminded not to put too much attention on bodily things; on material things, because they all shall pass. We’re reminded not to attach so much importance to physical things, because it’s the soul that matters. It’s the soul that carries on with the eternal journey when this life is no more.

Even though I write so much on Christianity and spirituality, I am not oblivious to the fact that not all my readers are Christians. But I hope this post inspires everyone who reads it somehow. I don’t ask that everyone converts to Christianity, but I hope that each one reflects on the lives they lead; one doesn’t need to be a Christian to help the needy, and neither does one need to be a Christian to aspire to be a better person.

Humans are synonymous with sin; our nature predisposes us to imperfections. This period is simply a time to reflect, atone for our wrongs and help those in need. One doesn’t necessarily have to be a Christian to do that.

My take: Fifty Shades Trilogy

fifty shades

Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed….this story was everything I hoped it would be. E.L. James didn’t disappoint.

It’s been a long while since I last watched/read something so intriguing that left me feeling like an addict. The last time I felt this stimulated was a couple of months ago when I watched The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn; Edward Cullen and Bella’s love scenes were so intense; I realized something was missing in my life. I felt like the two were rubbing it in my face I was single and lonely.

As I read about Christian and Ana, I couldn’t help feeling like I was still watching The Twilight Saga. It wasn’t such a coincidence after all; apparently, E. L. James was inspired to write the Fifty Shades Trilogy by the Twilight Series.

One might wonder why I’m taking time to write about a book, which everyone else has written or said something about; why I would waste my time adding similar stuff to an already saturated web, but mine is not just the typical book review; I’m merely trying to see the reality in an amazing fictional story.

I must admit, when I first read Fifty Shades of Grey, I was a bit apprehensive; why would some naïve girl like Ana Steel consider the possibility of hooking up with someone as damaged as Christian Grey? Initially he didn’t want her because he liked her, he only thought she could make a perfect submissive. On the other hand, she was genuinely attracted to him; she even dared to dream about a romantic-hearts and flowers- relationship with him. I would normally refer to it as being over ambitious.

But then, that’s precisely why I got hooked into this trilogy. Ana dared to dream. She saw hope, where there was none. I reckoned if I was Ana, I would have made for the hills the instant Christian showed her the contract. The issue of butt plugs, karabiners, whips, canes…none of that seemed appealing to me. The ‘red room of pain’? I couldn’t stomach it. In my head, erotic experiences were supposed to be fun, not tearful. I hated it that Ana had blisters to nurse after their ‘kinky fuckery’.

As I neared the end of the first book, I couldn’t wait to finish it. I feared that if I read more of Christian I would hate him; but as I started with the second-Fifty Shades Darker- the story became an emotional roller-coaster. Sometimes I was too anxious; I’d never imagined a book could do that to someone.

The storyline sucked me in; I stopped seeing Christian as the sadist he claimed to be and Ana the naïve woman she was. Instead I started seeing to people who had mountains to get rid of before they could finally live the happily-ever-after. I saw a needy man, who was determined to risk his all, so he could keep the love of his life. He knew that by agreeing to let Ana into his life he would be practically turning his back on the only life he had known-being an all-time domineering, control freak.

I saw two people in love, who were willing to make whatever compromises to accommodate the other’s needs. By the time I finished with the second book, I was awed by Christian; only he could make BDSM seem appealing.

Generally, I loved the book, not for the steamy erotic moments-which I must admit were very many- but for their murky journey; the storm they weathered before the sun finally shone on them. It was all about sacrifices. Theirs wasn’t the ordinary love story; it was the epic triumph of love.

Basically, each person has that masochist in them; he/she might not come wielding floggers, leather crops and cuffs, but they inflict pain on others, or take pain inflicted on them stoically.

The novel has sought of given me something to make references to; I know it sounds crazy, but it’s only after reading such a captivating fictional story that I realized, if one truly loves someone, they will gladly sacrifice anything. I knew that already, but reading the story reminded me one can dream and actually live their dream.

Personally I hate caning; I have a history. Teachers in my primary school thought it was the most effective disciplinary measure. Only my palms were subjected to the stinging pain, but watching the boys receive their fair share on their bums gives me an inkling of what a painful experience it could be.

I’ve never considered pain as a possible way of affording me any pleasure; doesn’t matter if it’s caning, lie-on-lap-spanking (that, I deem demeaning on all levels)…anything that inflicts pain on me, I hate. Nonetheless, if I found someone who was willing to sacrifice something significant for me, maybe like Ana, I too would consider the possibility of enduring some pain…I would consider sacrificing something I treasure.

Love is all about making sacrifices.