This post has been tumbling around in my noggin for a few days now and I've been trying to figure out how best to write what I feel in my heart as words from the heart are not as easy to capture and record as words from the head. Does that make sense?
Growing up we celebrated Lent. We had the Lenten folders we collected dimes in, we had Ash Wednesday service (with some preachers, not others), we had Maundy Thursday service, and the sunrise service on Easter morning. We talked about what we were going to "give up" and then well, if it didn't happen, okay then. It was beautiful and special and I enjoyed all of it.
However, Lent has taken on something even more special since I've joined the Catholic church. I don't know if it's because it was my choice and my decision to enter the church that this time of year has become so much more meaningful or if it is simply the way the Church observes Lent.
As I've written before, I "knew" so much about the Catholic church before I knew anything about the Church. A little information is a dangerous thing, and I was guilty of inferring quite a bit from very limited knowledge.
To me, Lent is now so much more than just "giving up" something and the forty days leading to Easter. Lent is a time of prayer, penance, and almsgiving. It's a time of remembering Christ's sacrifice for us and making changes in our spiritual lives to bring us closer to God. It's a time of personal and spiritual growth and reflection and being more aware of those who are less fortunate.
Today is a day of fasting and abstaining from meat (as is Good Friday). I've had two small snacks and will have a smallish dinner this evening. I'll abstain from meat on Fridays until Easter. Every time I've thought of food I've stopped and prayed. These small sacrifices remind me of Christ's sacrifice for us, and how much greater it was.
This evening I'll attend Ash Wednesday service. I'm looking forward to the four retreat/mission days our parish will have in March, and then to attending the triduum events during Holy Week, including the Easter Vigil that Saturday evening. It's the culmination, a celebration of our Christianity.
I found this information on Lent and then this information on keeping Lent simple. Lent. Simple. That makes so much sense. We want to draw nearer to God and the less we have between us, the closer we will be. Less is more. Of course! One sin, one add-in, one give up. Got it.
I've been praying and thinking and these are my plans for Lent this year. My sin to give up is "anger" or "wrath". My anger causes much strife and discomfort in our home and I need to let that go, and with that, the yelling. I don't yell that much, but I still yell. I don't like it. Nobody likes it. When I feel myself getting angry, I'm going to step back and take a break. Maybe I'll count to ten. Maybe I'll pray. Maybe I'll stop and pray a decade of the rosary. Whatever I choose, I want it to be something that allows me to become closer to my family and closer to Him.
My add-in is a more deliberate prayer life. I pray at bedtime, and at times throughout the day when the thought to do so pops into my head. But, I want more. I plan to set aside time for quiet reflection, contemplation and meditation and prayer first thing in the morning before I do anything else.
As for my "give up", so long, ice cream. This is a HUGE sacrifice for me! I love the stuff so much I build my daily calorie budget around my evening scoop. Instead of ice cream, I can say a prayer of thanksgiving.
And, as an added bonus, I'm going to make an effort to be more "present" with my family by cutting screen time once again. I'm good for awhile and then the time starts creeping up and it's time to cut back once more.
I'm not sure how to wrap this up other than to say I'm grateful for this time of year and thank God for the gift of His son.
1. Bev picking up Lil from Chess Club so I didn't have to go out in the rain.
2. Lil working on her Valentines--she's such a sweetie pie!
3. Beanie has been wearing panties all day. We're not going to talk about the "accidents" that have occurred and will instead celebrate the fact she wants to wear them and we're making progress.
4. Watching Miss Bean work puzzles.
5. Ash Wednesday service.
6. A large stash of meat-free recipes.;o)