Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lent and Me

I've been busy posting lists of books, movies, and suchlike for everyone. But I haven't said much about my own personal plans for Lent.

Then I read Joseph's plan at Zombie Parent's Guide and found it inspirational. Or should I say awe inspiring? In my mind, anyone who gives up fiction for Lent is akin to one of those hermits who sat on pillars in the desert. It calls for superhuman strength and I don't even understand it.

At the very least I realized I've got to buckle down and decide instead of just toying with ideas. To be fair, I've been asking God for prompting in what stands between us, so I can toss it out.

Such questions in the past have led to changes I've carried on in real life such as not using the computer on Sundays, not listening to my iPod when others are around and so forth. We'll see if these are equally life changing ... and form better connections with the Almighty.

Here's where I am.


I pledge to be more faithful.

I already have two prayer times in the day.

When I'm feeding the dogs in the morning, I do intercessory prayer and (when I remember) I turn my day over to God. Sometimes that will spill over into when I'm reading my daily page of A Year with the Saints (Thigpen) while I'm dressing. Sometimes not.

When I get home in the afternoon, I make a cup of coffee and go outside if it is nice. (The dogs love coffee time when we're all out there together.) I spend 20 minutes with more contemplative prayer than in the morning.

There is nature, for one thing, which always brings me closer to God.

In the last few months I've also been working my way very slowly through Mark, a few verses at a time, in that Ignatian imaginative style. You know, read a little story or parable, and you imagine you are there. What do you smell? What is the weather like? What can you hear? How does everything look? Can you feel the sun or is it overcast? And you put yourself in the scene and ... let it unfold.

Believe me there is nothing for making you get everything out of scripture like applying this to a little bit of text for 20 minutes. I have had some surprising insights this way. And certainly I've had moments of connection with God.

The problem, of course, is that I have to give 20 minutes. It is sad how often I have other distractions I'd rather indulge in during that paltry 20 minutes. Worse yet is how often I go ahead and do something else instead of prayer.

So during Lent I will not miss a 20-minute date with my coffee, dogs, and Bible. Promise.


This is the traditional name for "giving up something for Lent." I've done it with food, I've done it with technology, I've done it with bad habits. (Remember that 40 days when I made it everywhere on time? Hurrah for Lent!)

This year I am fighting distraction overall. (See prayer above.) I think it is one of the ills of our time. And I really need a cure.

I'm going to give up visiting three social media spots which just suck the time right out of me. GoodReads, Bloglovin', and Facebook.
  • GoodReads is the biggie here. I. love. it. But I realize it is also influencing my reading because I am reading for the community sometimes instead of for myself. Yeah, I also do that for podcasts and suchlike but it's a different thing than GoodReads for me.
  • Bloglovin' is, strictly speaking, an RSS aggregator but if I want to read a blog I can actually take the trouble to use my own sidebar. Much less distracting. 
  • Facebook is the most minor of these. However, if I want to avoid a task it is better than nothing. And I'll go there for that avoidance and distraction. I'll probably still throw occasional links to this blog on Facebook but I won't stop to read anything. 


I admit this is one I hadn't really thought about specifically until I read Joseph's post. We give weekly and just contributed to a couple of the bishop's various appeals. However, Lent calls for more.

What comes to mind right now is something weekly for our poor box. (Yes, we have one. Actually we have two. One for money. One for food, clothing, and other tangible items.) It all goes to our St. Vincent de Paul ministry who helps the needy with food, clothing, furniture, rent, utility, transportation, medical, emotional and spiritual support.

I like that. Ok, almsgiving chosen.


  1. Last year I stopped giving up something for Lent and instead focused on taking on something more. With my life mostly feeling like always Lent and never Easter, it worked much better for me. This year I'm organizing Fr. Barron's Catholicism series at our parish, as well as participating in both his and Matthew Kelly's Lenten e-mail programs. I can only hope that they help prepare me for the biggest "giving up" I expect to ever do, which coincidentally will be during Lent; we are planning to cease our efforts trying to have children next month.

    1. Stephanie ... I can't imagine how difficult letting go of that dream is. I know I can't because I have friends who had to do the same thing and it is still a source of sadness for them. However, I will keep praying for you to have children given to you in whatever way God devises. The couple I mentioned is fantastically happy with their adopted son ... although it did take them a long time and much trust and patience. There is never any telling how God surprises us in ways we just can't imagine.

      On the giving up and taking on ... I do both. For some reason I have a tendency to forget what I'm taking on at some point, while the giving up is something I remember. I've read that is a common tendency. Each always falls within the fasting, prayer, and almsgiving so all are essential at working together for Lent ... for me anyway. :-)

  2. Wow, compared to the pillar-sitting hermits! What I really want to try is be like the medieval monks in Lent who brewed a strong beer (not as in alcoholic, but strong as in nutritious) and used it as "liquid bread" so they wouldn't eat solid food till Easter! My wife probably wouldn't let me (and I'd have to take up homebrewing which is interesting to me but I have no time for that in the foreseeable future) and I'm probably not tough enough to do it, but it's fun to dream about. I'm glad to be an inspiration.

    Stephanie Z.--you are doing something really hard, I'll pray for you and your husband.

    1. You know ... I like beer a lot. Much more than wine actually. I've always been a fan of carbonation (sez the lady with her daily Sodastream habit). But that would be awfully penitential after a while. There's something about "chewing" that matters a lot! :-D