We’ve just started Lent.
For those Godless, Lent is when Catholics like me remember Christ’s 40 days in the desert, found in the beginnings of Matthew and Luke, chapter 4, and try to emulate it. It’s a time where we seek to examine our lives and seek to make changes.
I prefer the advice of a former pastor at my last parish. Rather than simply deny yourself some pleasure, like chocolate or booze, for the 40 days only to gorge and go stupid at Easter, use the time to reflect where you can make life changes and work to implement them. One year I refrained from social media. It was refreshing. After that, I deleted all my accounts. I went back, only because I was asked to help moderate a Facebook page.
We are supposed to fast and abstain from meat. How hard is that? My memory of Lent growing up is that my mom would cook Mrs Paul’s fish sticks for us on Fridays. But these days I prefer seafood. It’s hardly a burden for me to cook shrimp, salmon, or some other non-meat food on Fridays whatsoever.
This lent I plan on something different:
- Get back to daily prayer. I used to be really good at the Ignation spiritual exercises. If you’ve never been on an Ignation silent retreat, you should do it. I’ve lapsed. I need to get back.
- I need drastic dietary changes. I can’t tolerate alcohol and sugar. I’m not diabetic, but my chemistry and metabolism is irreparably changed.
- I need exercise. When I’m stressed at work, which has been the last three months, I sit at my desk and work. The only, ONLY, thing that gets me up are the dogs. Who know it’s time for me to knock off and go walk for a few miles. They don’t care for me talking to myself, though. Neither does my wife, who caught me ranting to no one when when she returned one day from work. I yell at my back yard to get it over with and not do it to an employee (who badly needed it).
So I’m in for at least trying to fix my problems for the next 40 days.
How about you?
Lord and Master of my life, Take from me the spirit of laziness, discouragement, lust of power, and idle talk. Instead, grant to me, your servant, the spirit of purity, humility, patience, and love. My Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my own sins, and refrain from judging others; For you are blessed forever. Amen.
– Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian.