I've been dragging my feet as we head into Lent 2018. I'm not feeling terribly motivated on how to fast, sacrifice and give alms this year, and to be honest, hearing about all the books and journals and best-laid plans of others left me wanting to fight against it even more. I'm very rational that way. So mature, so adulty.
Yesterday we went to our parish's Family Faith Formation with our kids. Father's talk was geared towards 1-6 graders but I found it really helpful for myself! He reminded us that the way we live everyday (eating what we want, watching what we want, buying what we want, doing what we want) is a dream life for 90% of the world. While we complain about only having one meal and two snacks on Ash Wednesday, so many people only eat one meal a day every single day of their life. Most of us lead such comfortable and excessive lifestyles in America. He mentioned how in some countries, parents go without food for two or three days in a row to give their rations to their children. Meanwhile I'm over here picking the biggest cookie for myself. Mom of the year.
He talked about what Lent is (a preparation for Adult Baptism) and guided us through how to pick something to give up. He said that the point of Lent isn't to be miserable, it's to give something up in order to do something better. He also said while we should be working hard not to sin always, Lent is about giving up something good that we can enjoy again in the Easter season. So while we might give up sweets and then dig into our Easter candy, we shouldn't give up swearing for Lent to let loose on Easter morning. Nope, not a good look for a Catholic!
But the best point he made was to say that Lent should pinch. Whatever it is we are giving up, or adding in, should be felt by us throughout the 40 days, like a pinch. It's not knocking us down completely or making us miserable people to be around, but it's enough of a sacrifice to be felt and missed and purposefully given up/added in each day.
While walking the dog last night, Phil and I were discussing our Lenten plans and we decided that we are not going to eat sweets as a family, and no TV time unless we have said the Rosary first. Nothing too dramatic, but enough of a pinch. I was also working though how I can reduce social media/phone time from my life. Some rules will be put in place for that daily struggle as well, enough to pinch! As soon as we got home from the walk, I checked my phone to learn that I won the Blessed is She Lenten Devotional from Catholic Women Run. How very fitting that right as I was bemoaning social media and the minutes technology steals from our lives, I get the gift of quiet prayer time and scripture study from friends on social media. It's like God was showing me the good that can come from social media when it's used for His Will, not mine. God's winks are the best. And His pinches are coming to a Lent near you :)