Fat Tuesday - also known as Mardi Gras - gets it's name from the French for fat = gras and Tuesday = Mardi - is an annual festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. The annual festivities begin on January 6th - the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany - when the three kings visited the Christ child - building to a climax on Fat Tuesday - which always occurs the day before Ash Wednesday. Partying continues until midnight on Tuesday - the beginning of Lent. In New Orleans - Mardi Gras - has been an annual event for two centuries. In the rest of America and around the world similar celebrations are observed - celebrating excesses of food - drink - revelry - letting the senses run wild for one last day before the period of abstinence and fasting of Lent begins.
God understands us - our need to act and do excessive things - prior to an extended period of self denial - prayer - fasting - alms giving. He may not condone - but allows us this indulgence - knowing that it will strengthen and steel our resolve to experience a good - fruitful - prayerful - Lent. Each of us is a promise - a promise to God - to ourselves - to be the best that we can be. We are a promise to each other - to our families - our friends - strangers on the street. As we prepare to begin our Lenten devotions - let each one of us - hold the promise of self denial - promise of commitment - in our hearts.