What’cha doin’ for Lent?

Whatcha doin’ for Lent?

http://companionanimalsolutions.com/blogs/barking-dogs-make-it-stop/In the last three years, Ash Wednesday snuck up behind me like the small, annoying, snappy dog.

“Wait a minute—it’s when?”

I mean, stupid me, it’s not as if Lent doesn’t happen every year, or something.

So what happens?  I end up thinking about what to give up for like, five minutes, and then (grumbly) go about my day.

So what are you doing for Lent?

Most of the time, we think about what we give up.  I’ll stop eating chocolate.  I’ll stop having dessert.  I’ll stop watching Downton Abbey.  I’ll stop watching sports.

However, what if we look at Lent on the flipside?  Instead of giving something up, what about we add something that is good for us?  Instead of doing something that is potentially painful, what about we do something that is invigorating and helpful?

(Unnecessary aside: back in December, I was overheard saying, “I love Advent!  It’s such a beautiful and wonderful season. It’s like Lent—only without the pain!”  I think I ought to consider giving up talking for Lent.)

So what are you doing for Lent?

liturgy-of-the-hoursFor example, the Lent before I entered the Order, I pledged to pray the Divine Office—Morning Prayer, Midday, Evening Prayer—for the season.  I did pray Office, before, but I was hardly regular.  Moreover, by this time in my spiritual life, praying Office was becoming a part of me—so I figured, why not hasten the process?

I’m also bad at keeping contact with my friends in other parts of the world.  One year, it was part of my Lent to call a different friend once a week.

Another example, my last two years at Stanford, I intentionally “went Cistercian” for a half-day, once a week.  After I said Office and Mass, I would go into my room doing things in complete silence. I even added email and social media to the list, because I assented that communicating on the internet wasn’t silence—it was more like busy quietude.


Of course, we still ought to fast, pray, give alms for Lent.  Perhaps we ought to delete the Facebook and Twitter apps from our phone.  Refrain from meat or go to Adoration.  But it would behoove us as well to look at Lent—not as a time to give things up, but add things we ought to be doing anyway.

…like doing everything we can to prepare for the Resurrection.

Fra. Angelico, OP Noli me Tangere

Fra. Angelico, OP
Noli me Tangere

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