Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent

And today, we begin the Lenten season.  40 days and 40 nights (not including Sundays) of preparation for the resurrection. 

I'm Presbyterian now, but I grew up Catholic - like, mass-every-Sunday-no-matter-what Catholic.  Like, church on all holy days, big Lent sacrifices, no meat/snacks on Fridays Catholic.  So even though Lent isn't as intense in the Presbyterian church, I still enjoy focusing on the season and making a Lenten vow.

I did a nice little post last year on the history/tradition of Lenten sacrifices.

This year, I was having a tough time deciding what to "give up."  Alcohol is already gone.  Coffee is already gone.  And for the most part, I eat pretty healthfully.  When thinking of foods, I'd say the two things I eat most on a daily basis (that could possibly be considered "in excess") are grapes and peanut butter.  Well, grapes and peanut butter are healthy (I'm a vegetarian, you must remember, so even though PB has a high calorie count, it offers serious protein) - so I didn't really want to cut them from my diet.

I needed to look outside my traditional food-related vows.  And so I decided that instead of focusing on the sacrifice aspect of a Lenten vow, I would focus on the preparation aspect of Lent in general - that is, the preparation for the resurrection of Christ.

SO - I bought this book and have committed to following it until Easter: A Clearing Season: Reflections for Lent.

I think there will also be some "sacrifice"-type tasks involved.  It's set up to be a lesson/week.  Each week has a different Lent-themed focus and follows the Lenten journey in Matthew (I think!).  And then you have to commit to a practice (recommended by the book) during the whole season.  I've not completely read that part yet, but I think some of the suggested practices are: meditate for 30 mins/day; journal every day; give up a certain type of media for the season; gives x hours/week of your time to volunteer; etc.  So there's definitely still some "giving up" going on, it's just not food related.

I'm really excited, though!  I think this Lent season will be very different from my Lents of the past.  I'm hoping to draw close to God and have a fuller, more meaningful recognition of Christ's death, and His glorious resurrection.

What are you guys doing for Lent (if anything)?

2 comments:

LB said...

That's a great idea! I've been struggling with what to give up (although there are plenty of things, none of them altogether seem that interesting or impacting) - maybe I'll pick up this book too!

Sarah said...

I like your thinking as well. My lenten promises are as follows: 1) Get out of bed by 7am each day. This is something I struggle with and the idea behind it is meant to have some time for prayer reflection in the morning as well and overall starting the day on the right not rushed foot. 2) While this is much easier than giving up alcohol like you, it's still a sacrifice for me. I plan on consuming no more than 1 alcoholic drink more than once per week. 3) I plan on going to different parishes near me that have mass schedules that fit better with my lifestyle to try to get back in touch with God and my religion. I always aim high, we'll see.