Sunday, March 13, 2011
Giving up Lent, kind of...
As a recovering Catholic, I find that one of the things I miss most about Catholicism is celebrating Lent. Lent is the season between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Good Catholics are supposed to forsake something they enjoy to commemorate the suffering of Christ, and not eat meat on Fridays. At least that's how I remember it.
How I really remember Lent is like a game. First you strategize what your going to give up. It must be something you truly will miss or it doesn't count. The first year I celebrated Lent, I gave up chocolate. All during the Lenten season I pined, and looked longingly at chocolate rabbits at the store. M&M's seemed to be everywhere, mocking me, and even the comfort of a cup of cocoa was verboten. Finally, on Easter morning I got a basket brimming with my previously forbidden treat. As we celebrated the belief that after the third day, Christ rose from the dead at mass, I celebrated a small personal victory over chocolate.
The other part of Lent, giving up meat on Fridays, always meant interesting dinner choices: Cheese Enchiladas, Mac & Cheese, Quesadillas and of course my favorite Fish and Chips. In high school I can remember going to the cafeteria and seeing the trays normally brimming with burgers and hot dogs, replaced with big trays of macaroni and cheese tuna casserole and fish sandwiches. Even though I had given up giving things up by then, it was still kind of fun to be deprived.
These days, I am typically more inclined to celebrate Mardi Gras, than Lent. I don't go to mass on Ash Wednesday, don't really celebrate Easter, but still enjoy making baskets for my boys who are quickly becoming young men.
But that doesn't replace the ritual of giving something up, so I decided to give up french fries for Lent, and to try and give up meat on Fridays. I think of it as an exercise in self-discipline.
I didn't think that through very well though, because now I've screwed myself out of Fish & Chips. Obviously, I'm a bit out of practice.