Thursday, March 18, 2010


I looked at the ordo today a bit shocked that Palm Sunday is dramatically close. Lent usually seems to drag on and on (I say this even with it being my favorite liturgical season) but this year it flew by on a zip line. But no matter how you see it, half past or half way to go, as Fr. Pfeiffer said in his homily this past weekend, “There’s still much dying to do.”

One of my Lenten resolves was to be a little bit hungry and a little bit cold. The cold part is actually a little selfish. I like being a little cold and in this big drafty house it is easily accomplished. Being a little bit hungry is much more difficult. The bishop was visiting last Friday and made the comment, “Do you realize you make all of your decisions based on food?”

I would be offended but it’s true.

So I try to eat a little less, avoid most snack times, and am careful about not hording when at a parish event that inevitably has some sort of buffet. One of the great benefits has been that I am actually hungry when I sit down to eat. It is a wonderful feeling. Before lent (Aug! Christmas!) there were times I would sit down at the table and think, “We have to eat AGAIN?” So part of this discipline has been selfish but duty is none the less for being pleasure so says C. S. Lewis.

Another Lenten promise that Fr. Pfeiffer and I took was to start exercising. We bought weight equipment and set up a small gym in the basement of the rectory. Thus far we have been pretty loyal to a routine. In fact I had to take benediction for father last Friday because he was so sore he couldn’t lift his arms up high enough to give the blessing. (I wonder if I should have asked him if I could post that before I did?)

So I hope that you are finding some positive results in your life from your Lenten promises and practices. Perhaps you have gained some discipline, feel better, pray better, have better ministered to others, have improved you faith life, have set a better example, have shed unnecessary negative feelings, or have just attempted to make some small part of the world a better place. But as the seconds tick away toward the end of Lent 2010 and the chocolate stash grows in your larder, or the hours of unwatched T.V. reruns grow, or you look forward to not having the pressure to exercise or pray more or not curse, think about carrying forth your new developing habits. You don’t have to give up chocolate for the rest of your life – but you will have just lived 40 days without it! Cut it out except in special occasions! It will taste better when you do eat it then and you will feel better.

If you cut out cursing keep working on it! You feel better for having tried now make not cursing your habit! If you prayed more, keep it up! If you tried to be nicer to the people you love have not things been more pleasant? Why stop? One year I have up pop for lent. On Easter Day I went to drink it and hated it. I haven’t had much of it since. Today (now that I am in my mid 40s) I am so thankful that I gave it up. There’s years of tons of sugar I don’t have to fight off.

This season hopefully you have moved closer to sainthood. Stay there. And if you have dropped the ball it is not too late to pick it up and start anew (or new.) That is lent’s gift to you – holding on to the gift is your gift to you.


Anonymous said...

About 25 years ago, the Lord impressed upon me that I should give up using bad language for Lent. To the amusement of my friends, I did. I have kept up this good habit all these years.

Austringer said...

I gave up TV some years ago for Lent, and have never gone back (though I will sometimes watch movies on DVDs). However, since it truly has become a wasteland, I can't say that it's been hard...