It’s that time of year again…Lent. Technically, Lent (or Lenten) is a Catholic practice, and I, though not Catholic, think that fundamentally, Lent is a worthy practice. I say fundamentally because the form of observance that the Catholic church has officially chosen, I have some issue with. Here’s a snippet from the American Catholic Church’s website about Lent…
”Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.
Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.”
To me this seems a bit tame or wishy washy, even. They say fast on those two important days but here’s our definition of “fasting”, some food is ok, just not too much. And then abstain from meat, but only on Fridays. It’s contradictory to me. Here’s another snippet from the same website about the reason behind giving things up for Lent…
“Lent is about conversion, turning our lives more completely over to Christ and his way of life. That always involves giving up sin in some form. The goal is not just to abstain from sin for the duration of Lent but to root sin out of our lives forever. Conversion means leaving behind an old way of living and acting in order to embrace new life in Christ. For catechumens, Lent is a period intended to bring their initial conversion to completion.”
So, if that’s the case, why give up meat only on one day a week? That’s not exactly “rooting” something out.
My view of Lent, and please remember it’s strictly my view and I’m not Catholic, is that it should be about sacrifice. The Bible tells us that Jesus fasted and was tempted but didn’t take the bait and that He is the ultimate sacrifice, having given his life. So asking people to give up meat once a week seems very pale in comparison.
Having said all this, I come to my point. I do practice Lent (everyday not one day a week) because I believe that sacrifice is a very good way to not only “root” out certain behaviors or bad habits but it’s also a way to instill good behaviors and habits. Last year I went veggie for all of Lent and that introduced me to a lot of different foods and recipes that I normally wouldn’t ever try that I still eat now. About 3 years ago I gave up French fries because I ate them with at least one meal a day and up until about 6 months ago I ate French fries maybe once every 3 or 4 months. In the last 6 months, though, I’ve had a huge fry fixation.
Soooo, for this Lent, fries are on the list of sacrifices along with breakfast on the run, ignoring my household chore duties, Starbucks and places like it and buying fabric for no reason. But the biggie is sugar. I once tried to give up sugar completely for Lent but everything has sugar in it when it’s the thing you’re giving up. So, I’m giving up sweets and adding sugar to things (like coffee). Let me tell ya, that is huge for me cuz I have THE biggest sweet tooth. But I’m also Ms. Wilhelmina Power so I know I can do it.