Oh, lent......here we go again!!!
Every year, we have the same discussion at our house: what are you giving up for lent? The older I've gotten, I've tried to not necessarily give something up as much as trying to do something to help me grow in my faith: pray the rosary once a week, or go to mass one evening a week, etc., hoping that if I add something like that I will keep it up after lent is over.
For one reason or another, it really has never worked out well for me to do it that way. So, this year I've taken on a new attitude. Replacement.
Here's how my replacement theory works: I've given up something (holy cow, I gave up Diet Coke -- aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!). Now, each day, when I want to have a Diet Coke (which is typically mid-afternoon and sometimes evening for me -- often if I'm driving I will get a large Diet Coke at McDonald's -- cause they are only a buck), I plan to replace that Diet Coke with something that will help my faith life. So, in the time that it would take me to walk and get a can out of the refrigerator -- what can I do during that time that would help me grow closer to the Lord? Say a prayer? Say a decade of the rosary? Pray for someone special? Maybe I can take that time in the evening and spend a few extra minutes reading the bible, either by myself, with Jim, or with my kids. Have a conversation with someone about our faith. Anything to help me take that next step on my journey.
This thought was brought home to me tonight during mass. This past Sunday, our mass was full of beautiful music, including a brass choir, which had some trumpeteering going on -- it was spectacular! A celebration, of sorts. An ending. Before the beginning. Of lent. Of a time of simpleness. Not "ordinary" time on the church calendar, but certainly ordinary time in our mass. Nothing special on or around the altar. Simple pewter communion cups, with simple bowls for the hosts. No music for the recessional. How can I "replace" that? I've been thinking about that. To replace, I will do what I used to do when I was a child during lent. I will pray. When I was little, I used to give up "watching" during lent. I used to give up watching the communion line. I would look down and pray. No seeing who was in church, or what they were wearing, or what kind of shoes they had on. Prayer. In an effort to get my closer to Jesus, I chose this.
I'm choosing it again. Very publicly this time! I'm going to use my meditation time to do just that: meditate.
I hope my replacement theory works. I'll let you know.
In the meantime -- what is your lenten promise? If you want to make it public, feel free below!!! If you haven't made one yet, it's not too late. You'll never regret it. Do one thing, something, that will encourage you to stop and think of Jesus either when you do it (i.e. pray) or when you don't (i.e. Diet Coke).
Have a great lent, everyone!