The season of Lent is not first about fasting or self-denial; it's about serious participation -- here and now -- in God's divine forgiveness with all his people, from the heart: God's pardon of us and our pardon of others. It doesn't change God, it changes us. It changes our hearts.
"'Til death do us part," that age-old marriage vow, has always sounded a little, well, non-committal to Confucian ears. In Vietnam, for instance, where I come from, death is not the end of relationships, it only deepens them.
I appreciated the dirtiness of our Ash Wednesday retreat, and by dirtiness I mean the reminder that the soil, the ground, and the earth that is the very foundation of our bodily existence is something that we must not lose touch with.
My father's voice was like an instrument and I loved it, loved listening to it, especially in the shower when he would catch just the right echo, just the right timbre, the acoustics so perfect that it sounded like he was singing a duet or was on stage in a 1940s nightclub.