Lent 2012 (part 1) What did you give up for Lent?

So by this point in the New Year most folks have given up the whole New Years resolution thing and some have started focusing on giving up something else.  You often hear “Lent is coming up, I’m going to give up chocolate.”  By the way, because of these statements, Troy and I LOVE to watch the movie Chocolat during Lent, it’s an annual tradition of ours.  These statements tend to bother me and I start to wonder, do they really even know what Lent is all about?  Lent is not another time of year to make a resolution because you bombed just a few weeks into the New Year.  Lent is not just about giving up something.  Lent is so much more than that!

As a Catholic I’ve found that practicing Lent back home (North East) was much easier than it is down south.  Honestly, growing up, most people I knew were Catholic.  It wasn’t until I lived down south that I truly realized how many different types of Protestant churches there were!  So naturally when Lent rolled around I’m questioned more about dirt on my forehead and asked if I’m a vegetarian.  (note: yes, devotees will recall that I was a vegetarian for a bit)

This year on Wednesday, February 22nd I got some of that “dirt” on my forehead – aka, went to Ash Wednesday Mass.  Then on Friday, February 24th I went to church again for Stations of the Cross (another Lenten tradition).  On both of these days I abstained from meat, and will continue to do so on Friday’s during Lent.  I also fasted on Ash Wednesday – technically I’m exempt from traditional fasting because I’m pregnant but I adapted and when I wanted to reach of those candy hearts, I touched the container, looked at it and said to myself, it’s Ash Wednesday, it’s now Lent, it’s time to practice some self-control and use these moments as a form of fasting.

Anyways, Lent this year has spoken to me more than it has in the past.  During the Priest’s Homily on Ash Wednesday, he spoke of the Army and how we love to use acronyms.  So he came up with an acronym for ASH = Almsgiving, Sacrifice, Holiness.  He linked them all together and I apologize that I can’t do the Homily justice here but I will say that it really spoke to me.

Now that my Lenten journey has begun folks ask: “So, what did you give up for Lent?”  I always make sure they know that there’s much more to Lent than giving up something…This season I’m going to:

  • Attend Mass every Sunday as a family: Lately this has been a struggle for us as a family and I believe that as a mother, I need to guide my children properly and give them opportunities to learn about God and their religion and what better way to do so than attend Mass every week.
  • Attend Mass at least one day during the week: On top of attending Mass on Sundays, I plan on going to one of the weekday services as well.
  • Go to confession: As a kid I recall going to confession often, especially during Lent, yet now as an adult I’ve honestly been slacking in the area and haven’t been since…uummm…yea, it’s bad, it’s been that long.
  • Attend the Triduum during Holy Week/Easter Week: that’s Holy Thursday, Good Friday & Easter.  We always did this as a kid and again I’ve been slacking as an adult.
  • As for giving up things I am giving up negativity in my life: this has been an ongoing process this year and I’m taking it to a new level in this season of Lent.  So far it has been very difficult and I’ve wrestled with God concerning what it involves.  I’ve had to let some “friends” go and let some projects and previous commitments go as well because they do not fit into the framework of a positive lifestyle.

Well, that’s my ramblings for now…

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