Our record for Lent is pretty spotty over the last couple of decades because we have made some very, very bad decisions.
There was the year that we gave up sex for Lent. If our memory is correct, that’s the year that we killed 900 people and got divorced. So overall, not so good.
That was ALMOST as bad as the year that we gave up coffee for Lent. Lord have mercy.
We tried to do that when we were a) drinking maybe 10 cups of coffee a day b) working in a HIGH STRESS P.R. agency and C) trying to keep a low profile because the police were still looking for us for all the people we killed during the “no sex” Lent.
Then there was the Lent we gave up ibuprofen. Can you imagine, a former 128-pound football player from Norman High School — read “broken” — giving up ibuprofen while still mowing and digging and building stuff? Can you say, “moron”?”
But even that dark cloud had a silver Lenten lining. For 40 long days, we gave the Missus countless opportunities to work on forgiveness and compassion and not killing me.
Even so, we have to admit that the “no sex”, “no coffee”, “no ibuprofen” Lents ended up being spiritual train wrecks instead of spiritual successes.
We have learned that, like most things, it’s good to set reasonable goals for Lent that you have some hope of achieving.
In case the person reading this blog over your shoulder, ahem, has forgotten or never knew what Lent is for, it is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to prepare us for the suffering, death and resurrection of Our Lord at Easter.
That person reading over your shoulder, ahem, should consider that:
Fasting is a biblical discipline that can be defended from the Old and New Testament. However, neither carried much weight with a former client who was not happy at all that we gave up eating under their golden arches during Lent. (Personally, we think it was a good spiritual exercise and, as a bonus, we lost about 900 pounds.)
This Year’s Lent?
We’re pretty sure that you are wondering what the blog is giving up this Lent. Could it possibly be sex or coffee or ibuprofen again? Why not oxygen?
First off, none of your beeswax.
Second, because hundreds of people have not been slain in New Zealand lately, *undoubtably, we did not given up these things for Lent.
But because this blog is all about transparency and evangelization (you knew that, right?), we will tell you that for this Lent we are:
- trying to keep the stupid heathen TV turned off and doing more spiritual reading (which is somewhat working, although, **disappointively”, we have yet to find a book that has well and truly tripped our spiritual trigger);
- trying to pray an additional rosary every day for Pope Francis (because, in case you have not noticed, he is an amazing old guy who has a LOT on his plate);
- trying to be more generous in the almsgiving department, which is good but somewhat problematic; the Chinese GM Finance is a generous giver, BUT she likes for giving to be done in a PLANNED WAY that utilizes ACTUAL CHURCH ENVELOPES. So when the blog reaches into our wallet for extra almsgiving, we feel as if we are about to get slapped into the middle of next Lent.
***Irregardless, this Lenten season we shall continue as best we can to be a kinder, gentler, holier blog, while noting that we generally screw it up, especially during rush hour.
Still, we believe in Lent and in finding HUMOR during Lent so we don’t explode.
So we shall finish with two brief Lenten stories.
1) Normally on Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent, many less-than-courageous Catholics (why are you looking at ME?), usually try to go to Mass at night to “get their ashes”. This is
so I so they don’t have to hear 900 times that day, “heh, you have something on your forehead”.
That “something” is put there by a priest — “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” — using ashes derived by burning palms from last year’s Palm Sunday Mass.
While it’s supposed to be a cross on your forehead, frequently the ashes smudge, and it looks like you’ve been in a coal mine or lubing your car. So you get a LOT of looks.
This year we courageously went to the noon-time Ash Wednesday Mass at the cathedral, because that’s what the GM Finance wanted to. Afterwards, when we got gas on the way home, the clerk from an OPEC county said, “You have something on your head.”
We decide to use this as a great opportunity to evangelize so, in about 15 seconds, we explained about the ashes. To which the now enlightened OPEC clerk said, “Oh, yes, I know about that baby.”
So, clearly, this blog was instrumental in his salvation. Moving on.
2) Two decades ago, when this blog was becoming a Catholic, we probably read at least 100 books and a bazillion articles, because we are nothing if not
obsessive thorough. Along the way, we learned many things, like “Lent” being totally Biblical and not, as a “witty” fundamentalist we went to high school with said, “Lent, what’s that? It’s not in my Bible. That must be something you find in your navel.”
Hardee har har.
This has been your Lent Update from Down Under in New Zealand.
We hope your Lent is going well, and that you did not give up sex, or coffee or ibuprofen, especially in America, because America has way too many guns for that.
* We say “undoubtably” in Oklahoma. And, since 1993, in New Zealand.
** Okies say that, too
*** For you, Sis