Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lent is here

It's Lent, so it's no longer business as usual if one is Catholic. Instead of going to the neighborhood Mexican restaurant before our season-ticket community theater evening, my sister and I (and my husband) hopped over to church to join seven or eight hundred others in a fish dinner. This wasn't about sacrifice, just so you know. The dinners are tasty.

It means reading newspaper comics and wincing at the annual storyline of the girl who is forced to give up something she likes for the duration, for no other reason than that she will be a "good little Catholic."

On the other hand, it also means reading thoughtful blog posts about whether lenten practices are done just for the sake of religion, or if they lead us to God. We'll be good Catholics if we can understand Lent in a way that the changes in our life will mean a deeper life in God and a better response to our neighbor.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lent around the corner

Lent is coming. Finally. In some ways it seems that although it's pretty late this year, it is still sneaking up on us. In other ways, I am ready, ready, ready. I'm glad I'm Catholic and I get to do Lent. And not just because my parish puts on a terrific fish fry.

One of my colleagues, along with many others, considers the idea of "giving up" things to be outdated and useless. Jesus has risen, he says. The bridegroom has returned, so no need to be gloomy and to deprive ourselves. Others say that it's better to do positive acts than to give up stuff.

I think both have their place. For me Lent is a time of reorientation, of getting back on track. It's a built-in opportunity to stop and check the compass and make a course correction or two where necessary. What are things that I am using to try to fill the void in me that only God can truly fill? What things might be getting in the way of  health-- physical, emotional, spiritual -- of seeking good, of seeking God? And of course, what are positive things I can do that will turn me more in the direction I want to go, which is toward God?

Just some thoughts while I ponder how I might live differently in my next few weeks as a Catholic.