Sunday, February 26, 2006

Remember, Man.....

OK, so Ash Wednesday's coming up and I still have to tell you my Ash Wednesday story. As I find the time between now and then, I promise that I'll jot it down if able....

In the meantime, there is a question I have for everyone.

I don't usually do the spirituality kaffeeklatsch because these are external forum pages. However, I'm always intrigued by the things people do for Lent. Some of us take on the same rituals every year, because they're tried, true and present a real opportunity for purification and penitence. Others among us change things up, because a new challenge is always exhilarating. Regardless, it's always something inspiring.

So I ask you, my dear Loggiaheads: What are you doing this Lent? There might be some among us who don't exactly know what they're giving up or, better still, what they're trying to do more of to engage the spirit of these days so that we may better celebrate the Easter mysteries in all their joy, so this'd be a nice exchange to get all of us prepped for Ash Wednesday and the coming weeks of the desert experience, or at least as much of that as we're able to partake in.

Now, it's been a month since I've opened a combox -- it was jarring to witness a thread on reactions to Deus caritas est turn into a brawl -- so I do this reluctantly. But this is something important for all of us as Catholics, and maybe the ideas and plans we see here might help some of us out.

Ground rules: in keeping with the spirit of Lent -- which is, for those who have forgotten, dying to self -- no one-upsmanship, please. And absolutely no fighting or judging of what others have to say.

And they're off......



Blogger Thomas Peters said...

Inspired by my pastor who warned against turning lent into the "Catholic dieting season", (not that I need to diet - if anyone's seen my picture, but I do like staying healthy) I've decided in addition to giving up all chocolate, sweets and soft drinks (my main sustenance during paper writing and my 16 hours a day spent in front of computers) - to add some positive things to my list of resolutions like renewing my efforts to attend daily Mass and maybe saying more rosaries like I swore to do on becoming a 3rd degree Knight of Columbus.

Yes, that was one sentence.

26/2/06 21:43  
Blogger Jorge said...

I give up meat every year, and will be doing so again this year. I'm considering fasting on all the Fridays, not just on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday. At the suggestion of my pastor, I'm going to take something up not just give something up, so I'm going to try to give more attention to my students who seem to "fall through the cracks."

26/2/06 21:56  
Blogger ssssssssss said...

Get up at the appointed time every morning. That is, straight out of bed as soon as the alarm goes. No lingering. This I find incredibly hard, so it is a great penance. But it's also a reminder, right at the start of the day, that it's Lent. And there is a practical advantage - you get a longer morning.

27/2/06 04:15  
Blogger Taz_Cat said...

Hibernalis: the getting out of bed thing is a really good idea, I think I might try that myself. I need to get more self-discipline. Plus, I might make more of an effort regarding adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It doesn't seem to be my sort of prayer but it seems to come so naturally to most of my friends and some of them have had their lives changed by it so I don't want to throw it out of the window as being entirely pointless. Plus I'll do the usual thing of being extra nice to people, trying not to use bad language etc etc

27/2/06 06:16  
Blogger Talmida said...

Work on my Hebrew every single day: translate the book of Genesis from beginning to end (or as far as I get).

Sit down and read the Gospels and Acts because I've been ignoring the NT lately.

Restrict my eating.

27/2/06 09:11  
Blogger Andrew said...

Daily Mass and Daily Rosary. I need the prayers.

27/2/06 10:03  
Blogger Big Tom said...

Say goodbye to libations of the ethanol variety. This is a big deal as my roommate and I typically share a beer or two in front of the TV more weeknights than not. We won't even get started on my Friday happy hours with the coworkers. My body will definitely appreciate the break in those. In what has become a tradition for me, I also give up viewing television of any sort.

My roommate goes with the fasting on every Friday of Lent. I believe I'll limit myself to no snacking, but I'm not sure I want to tackle three major penitential steps at once with an all out fast every Friday.

Hopefully not watching TV will lend itself to earlier bed times and thus allow me to accomplish the arising first thing in the morning without hitting the snooze button as well!

God bless,

~Big Tom

27/2/06 10:22  
Blogger Flambeaux said...

1. Start praying the Breviary again.
2. Anything I spend eating out, the same amount gets sent to Hiefer International.
3. I really like Hibernalis' idea, so jumping out of bed with the alarm clock is now on the list.
4. Clean up my diet -- not food restriction per se, just better food and more of it home cooked.
5. Meet with my Spiritual Director more regularly.

27/2/06 11:08  
Blogger NYer said...

Though Roman Catholic by baptism, I celebrate my faith in a Maronite Catholic Church. Today is Ash Monday so Lent has already begun for us. Ash Monday and Good Friday are mandatory days of fast and abstinence. Fasting in the Maronite Church involves eating and drinking nothing at all (except water and medicine) from midnight until noon. Abstinence entails abstaining from eating all meat, oil, wine and animal products (eggs, milk, cheese etc.)

I have tried to maintain some previous lenten practices as part of my daily life - meatless Fridays, daily Rosary, restricting tv and radio. This year I plan to fast on all Fridays of Lent and pray the Maronite Divine Office - simply awesome prayers at sunset and sunrise.

Fasting and personal mortifications should come from the heart rather than from a set formula.

27/2/06 11:13  
Blogger Gene O'Grady said...

Well, since I'm recovering from surgery I'm going to need to get my strength back before I indulge in too much mortification. One thing I have found valuable in Lent and Advent are the parish-sponsored weekly discussion groups, sort of spinoffs of things like Renew but independently run. I always learn a lot about what matters in life because so many of the people aren't like me -- which is one of the best things about being Catholic!

If it's not against the rules, I would like a little advice on dealing with my early adult age son. I think he's willing enough to work on spiritual growth, but since he hasn't eat meat in years (and doesn't drink enough alcohol to make that a meaningful substitute), he gets placed at a distance from the whole experience because it typically begins with the abstinence from meat on Fridays and Ash Wednesday (am I alone in thinking that ought to be reintroduced as a general matter of church discipline, its 1968? elimination best seen as an honest failure?) Any suggestions would be appreciated.

And to break one more posting rule, I offer a comment on the immediately previous item on the EBay Missale Romanum. I happen to own one very similar to that, also produced in 1942. Mine is a more deluxe version with fancier binding and colored tabs, but I suspect the text and illustrations are identical. And the associations are precious. It was originally given to the church in the small town in rural Illinois where my mother's family lived by my grandfather, Franz Josef Fritsch, as it's sometimes spelled, to commemorate his three children (my mother and her two brothers) who were in uniformed service against the Nazis. The implication being that the church didn't have anything for service use at this level previously. Some time in the sixties, and I don't know if it had to do with the switch to English in the liturgy or the closing of the small rural church, the then pastor gave it to my third uncle, who then gave it to me since I was the only person in the family who could read Latin.

27/2/06 11:15  
Blogger RightJack said...

It is said that preachers tend to preach what they themselves need to hear... Working on that premise, my homily for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time will set my Lenten agenda. I found in yesterday's scriptures some amazing images of God's desire for intimacy with us. Unfortunately, we often filter out such imagery, not expecting the scriptures to offer it.

In Hosea, the Lord was doing nothing short of seducing Israel: Come apart from the others... come with me into the desert... come and be alone with me... respond to me as you did in your youth... I will espouse you... I will know you and you will know me...

Paul uses an image of intimacy with the Corinthians, telling them he needs no letter of introduction because the Corinthians ARE his letter of testimony. His letter of introduction is written not on paper but on the flesh of the Corinthians' hearts of...

And Jesus? He tells us in the gospel that he is the bridgegroom - and who is the bride but us, the church? He uses the most intimate human relationship to describe his relationship to us...

Seduction is not a bad thing in itself. It all depends upon who is doing the seducing and to what we are being seduced. The word seduce comes from Latin roots meaning "to lead aside." In Lent the Lord leads us aside, out to the desert, where we, in his company, can take account of the other powers, desires and influences that seek to seduce us away from intimacy with our God. (Isn't this just what happened to Jesus when he was led into the desert by the Evil One to be tempted?)

So, through the ancient Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, my Lenten hope is that I will more freely allow the Lord to lead me aside, to a desert of intimacy with him, where he might espouse me afresh and I might come to know and love him more deeply. I want to go with the Lord to a place where once again he can write his love and his law on my heart.

The good news is that long before we make our Lenten plans, the Lord already has a Lenten plan for each of us. Perhaps prayer, fasting and almsgiving are simply the best ways to open ourselves to discovering what the Lord wants to accomplish in us in these 40 days...

27/2/06 11:22  
Blogger Vitaly Kartsev said...

I really like Hibernalis' idea of getting up right away—I will definitely try that. I also plan on keeping the traditional days of fasting and abstinence. I had thought about trying to pray the Office every day--taking Hibernalis' suggestion will definitely help with that! :-)

27/2/06 12:55  
Blogger R. M. A. J. Romero said...

I too am setting aside wine and strong drink for this season, as well as being faithful to the Liturgy of the Hours every hour, every day (I usually only say Lauds and Vespers. Compline is as foreign a concept to me as haggas).

27/2/06 13:13  
Blogger Claude Muncey said...

I will, as I have before, give up coffee for Lent. Not that it is that great a sacrifice (Starbucks is not particularly worried about it) but that it seems the perfect small thing to keep tugging on me and reminding me that it is Lent, and I should be getting on with the business of that.

In fine Benedictine tradition I am working through a book for Lent: Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. I may even post some of my reactions.

27/2/06 13:32  
Blogger BarbaraKB said...

No more late night T.V. watching.

Too much media in my life lately.

27/2/06 15:30  
Blogger Liz said...

I'm going vegetarian for Lent, vegan for Fridays. Scheduling precludes daily Mass, but I should be able to make it at least 4 days a week. The Lent that I did nothing more than go to Mass every day was the best Lent of my life...

27/2/06 19:23  
Blogger justplaincath said...

I'm going to read a book called "Great Lent." It's from the Greek Orthodox, but everyone can use some lectio.

I plan to exercise every day. I find that when my body is in good shape, so is my spiritual life. That may mean that I, like so many others, will follow Hibernalis' lead and jump out of bed first thing so that I can fit it in.

28/2/06 15:50  
Blogger Ed said...

More prayer (lauds/vespers), daily Mass, no alcohol, no red meat, RiceBowl alms, some spiritual reading.

Hibernalis, I remember my mother quoting Teresa of Avila - "At the sound of the bell you should rise as if your bed is on fire"-I'll pray for the success of your Lenten practice.

1/3/06 14:16  
Blogger Bill White said...

I'm spending some time with a penitential psalm each day.

4/3/06 17:46  

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