Monday, February 23, 2009
The Lenten Decision
“What should I give up for Lent?” my eleven-year-old asked, slouching into the couch.
“I can’t really give you the answer to that,” I replied, “You have to figure that out on your own.”
“Everybody in school already knows what they’re doing.”
“So what types of things are they giving up?”
“DS’s, TV, junk food…”
Those are all things we don’t do much of in our house, anyway. My kids don’t have hand-held video game devices, they don’t watch much TV, and I don’t buy any junk food.
“Remember what the priest talked about on Sunday, how what we give up should be something that makes sense for us, that cleanses us and improves our relationship with God and others?”
“Well, how about giving up behaviors that are harmful, like complaining, or teasing your brother, or having a messy room?” ( I couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw that one in.)
“I don’t know what to do…”
“Well, pray about it. And you don’t have to tell anyone what you’re giving up. It’s between you and God.”
Prayer, almsgiving, fasting. The three main components of Lenten practice, as outlined in Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for Lent.
I have some personal faults I will be working on, in addition to the following, which I am happy to share:
Prayer: Please join me in the 40 Days for Life. Pray the rosary once a day for the end of abortion. There are other activities you can join in on, such as peaceful vigils (which you can locate on the website), but prayer is something we can all do from anywhere.
Almsgiving: I am going to give up 40 cubic feet of CLUTTER! Every day I am going to get a box and remove 1 cubic foot of stuff that I don’t need and that I can donate to someone who does.
Fasting: Food usually isn’t a big part of my Lenten practice, except that I make fish twice a week instead of once. I am still nursing, so need all my meals. And I long ago gave up on almost all junk food, so there is not much I can really give up there.
The decision of what to do for Lent is a highly personal one. I wish you God-speed as you embark on your 40-day spiritual journey.
Painting by Ivan Kramskoy, Christ in the Wilderness, 1872.