As the Catholics among us walked around with their (myself included) ashes on their foreheads yesterday, I began to wonder the meaning of this ritual and how it connects to the world around us. The Ash Wednesday ritual began as a sprinkling of ashes on a person’s body after they have passed to forgive sins. It turned into a visible sign on our foreheads of the sins we may have committed throughout the year and our repentence from those sins. Take a moment now to reflect on sins you may have committed during the year with a reminder that there are sins we’ve actually committed and sins of omission, meaning we should’ve done something, but didn’t. It’s easy to teach our children about these sins by using simple examples such as, if someone drops something in the grocery store and they cannot pick it up, but you walk on by without helping, there’s a sin of omission. As we get older though and more wiser, we may not focus on sins of omission. Why? Because sins of omission are usually things we know we could’ve done and probably should’ve done, but didn’t. They lay on our conscience sometimes and thinking about them strikes a nerve. Why didn’t we help when we could’ve?
In my life, of course, as an ethical vegan (a vegan for the animals), a great deal depends on animals and the ability to not cause harm to them in my own life and to try and spread the word about the lives the animals people consume live. A dairy cow, for example, who cries as her baby is taken away so the baby will not drink the milk so the farmer can sell it to us. Wait….are we baby cows? Do we need this milk? Hmmm….. Anyway, how can we simply neglect the fact that we’ve done this? Does the cross we wear on our heads on Ash Wednesday abolish sins that we know we are going to continue making?
We try our best to be kind to one another, many now even try really hard to be kind to the planet by composting and recycling and buying solar panels. We are really kind to our pets. They have toys and treats. What about the animals who give their lives for us daily? Did you know by being vegan you would save one animal’s life daily???? WOW! That’s 365 animals over the course of the year (don’t forget that extra one on a leap year) per person who is Vegan! Amazing! These animals are sentient beings who want what your puppy and kitty want. They want to be loved. Have you ever rubbed a pigs belly? They will lay there for hours allowing you to and they’ll love it! I guarantee you’ll love it, too!
Ok, guys, living a Vegan Lifestyle isn’t as hard as you think. My Catholic friends, I know your giving something up for Lent. Why not try giving up eating meat? You do it on Fridays, try adding more days to it or the entire 40 days of Lent! Why not? What do you have to lose? If you try it, you’ll have saved 40 animals by the time Lent is over! What a blessed Lent you will have knowing you’ve saved so many animals! Who knows? You may even want to continue after Easter Sunday!