Sunday, February 3, 2008

On Being "Good" Catholics

This coming Wednesday is a big day for us Catholics; it's Ash Wednesday, which starts Lent; six weeks that prepare us for Easter Sunday. During Lent, good Catholics are expected do penance and good works, fast, and abstain from meat on Fridays. We are also supposed to practice "self denial," which for most people means giving something up for Lent. The idea is that such self-denial will bring you closer to God, especially if you give up some of the distractions that move you away from God. You could also choose to make a concentrated effort to start doing something that would enrich the lives of others.

I actually look forward to giving something up for Lent. One year, I gave up watching my favorite soap opera (Young and the Restless), which I taped religiously and stayed up late to watch every single night, no matter how late. I had no idea how liberating it would be to not have the obligation of watching that show, even thought I loved it. I felt like I had left a jealous lover! When Lent was over, I never went back. In the several years since, I've tuned in a couple of times, and it seems like I haven't missed much :)

The Girl, in typical fashion, embraced the idea of sacrifice right away when we talked about it upon arriving at church this morning. Her suggestions of things she could possibly sacrifice:

*Disney Channel
*Webkinz (Wow!)

She also suggested that The Boy could take on the "task" of giving his sister a hug every night before going to bed (She begs all the time, but he only succumbs a few times a year.)

Mr.4444, in typical fashion, came up with these suggestions for his sacrifices:

*blogging (he has no blog)

(Have I told you he is funny?) He did have one serious idea; since his New Year's Resolution is to read a book, he could read that book before the end of Lent. (Now to find a book that he would enjoy....He has only read one or two books in his life, not counting college, so it has to be a good one. I suggested the bible (duh!) but he didn't jump at that.)

I'm not sure what I'll do for Lent. Here are some things I've considered:

*giving up Diet Coke (YIKES!)
*not biting my nails (turning to God when I'm stressed, instead)
*not eating candy or dessert (ditto)
*forcing myself to exercise (you know; taking care of The Temple He gave me)

I thought about giving up blogging, but that would be INSANE, and I think God likes my blog. I thought about not reading any other blogs for the six weeks, too, but that didn't seem right. I'll keep thinking about it, but as a family, we have decided to do two things:

1) Go to church every Sunday (It's currently hit or miss for us; mostly miss.)
2) Do more for Mr.4444's mom, who lives alone, only 20 minutes away, but whom we only see every few weeks.

If you are Catholic (the "good" kind, haha), what are you giving up or starting this Lenten period? If you are not good, or not Catholic but were to abstain from something, what would it be?


  1. I grew up Catholic...
    so I'm thinking here what would be something to give up.
    There are different degrees of pain.
    If I went all out the first thing probably would be to fast for a day. ouch.
    medium degree of pain would be to skip a couple of meals.
    Food would be a good start for me.
    Then, maybe not go to see a movie I've really wanted to see?
    Blogging seems like it would be a good idea?
    but now I'm not Catholic so???
    But I get the whole idea and maybe it would be a good idea?

  2. My mom and her sisters (none of whom are Catholic, I believe) always read A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren during Lent. It has 40 chapters and you are only supposed to read one a day. I thought this was a great idea and will likely worm my way in to their tradition this year. Maybe your husband could try it too!

    I found your blog a few weeks ago and love reading it, especially about the school happenings. I taught for 11 years before taking some time off to be home with kids. I can't wait to get back in the classroom in a few more years.

    Thanks for blogging!

  3. Rhonda-Whatever you decide, you probably wouldn't regret it. Good luck!

    Tonya-Thanks for the idea; I'll suggest it and see what happens. I'm humbled by your compliment; thank you very much! Glad to entertain and amuse. I stayed home with my two for 7 years, and I know how isolating it can be; glad to be a part of your outside world :)

  4. P.S. The Boy came home from his weekend away and listened to our talk of Lenten sacrifice. His offering? "I'll give up your mom!" Get it? Another "Your Mom" joke. Hearty Har Har, Kid!

  5. Wear the Purple "Complaint Free bracelet! It will liberate you,even if takes longer to manage no complaining than you think. It took me 41 days to not have to switch it to the other arm. Try it. You won't regret it. :) I don't wear it now, but still remember to think before I complain,gossip or cut myself down. Good luck! Geri

  6. As a guy, one of the best books I have ever read that really had a changing agent in my life is " Wild at heart" by John Eldridge. In fact anything by this man is great. Heck I will buy it for him. As in all things, scripture is the best to read, but this book is good for what it is; a mans book. Although, my wife enjoyed it very much, but often she enjoys things like that more than a "woman's book". Check them out

    Many blessings

  7. I'm not Catholic, but we Episcopalians "do" Lent as well. Minus the not eating meat on Fridays thing, but then, I'm a vegetarian, so that wouldn't be much of a sacrific for me, anyway. *grin*

    But one thing our church teaches is taking on something new rather than giving something up, for Lent. Volunteer somewhere for these 6 weeks. Make a vow to let others go ahead of you in line at the grocery store. Stop by your old neighbor lady's house to see if she needs something from the store. It's a special way to *celebrate* Lent, for me, rather than just "getting through" it. Just to throw it out there! :)

  8. I am Catholic, not sure how good though. I think I remember how to get to church. ;) I have been thinking about what to give up. I am already trying to give up sweets in preparation for being maid of honor of a wedding. Maybe Starbucks? That would cut calories and unnecessary expense. I think that just might be it. And that would DEFINITELY be a sacrifice!


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