Next week marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the Catholic church (not to be confused with Lentil season in the Kinder household – two entirely different events, those are). It kicks off with Ash Wednesday and proceeds throughout the month of March, right on up until Easter weekend in April.
Most people are familiar with the concept of Lent through what they’ve seen on TV or in movies. Ash Wednesday is the day when co-workers everywhere wonder if they should point out that weird smudge on your forehead. And the rest of Lent is known as a time to give up things like chocolate, coffee, or sugar in general, and start eating a whole lot of clam chowder and fish on Fridays.
I know, sounds really exciting, doesn’t it?
In reality, Lent is a time to get all introspective on ourselves and work on uprooting those areas in our lives that are keeping us from spiritual growth. Lent calls us to pray more, to fast more, and to give more. To identify with Christ and his 40 days of wandering in the desert, resisting temptations. Regardless of one’s religious background or beliefs, I think there is value that can be found in each of those practices. I mean really, what evil ever resulted from praying more, giving up a favorite treat, or being more generous with your time or money? Anyone? Bueller? Exactly.
So, as I spend the next week contemplating my upcoming Lenten journey and deciding what wonderful pleasure I will be foregoing for the next seven weeks, (ACK!) I encourage you to at least ponder the idea of Lent and what it could mean for you. As the sole Catholic in many of my circles of friends (and all of my circles of family!) I’d be interested in hearing if anyone decides to take on any Lenten practices this year, and the results.
Me, I plan on wearing this during Holy Week: