As you many of you know, Lent starts on VaLentine’s Day this year.
While Lent has always been a time I truly enjoy as a Catholic, it is also a time of sadness within the Catholic community, representing the time that Jesus gave up his life for us. And, as Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of The Christ, highlights, the vast evil that exists in the world.
But, pushing that aside…
For me, Lent signifies the transition from one end to a new beginning. It’s my New Year’s Eve, in a way. It’s the time of year that brings me into a crazy spring fever, where I shed warm sweaters and get ready to march into summer.
It’s the time of year that I like to challenge myself to think of what to give up and why I choose to do it.
Last Sunday, at our weekly brunch meetup after mass, I told one of my best friends I was giving up shopping (yes, everyone in my family is happy about this one, their backs need a break from lugging in the 10 packages I get delivered to the house daily) and meat. The second one is a little more sensitive. I am an animal lover, yet a devoted meat consumer.
My best friend turned to me and said, “You’re giving up meat? But what will you eat?”
Without thinking, I said, “Well Jesus gave up his life for me so the least I could do is give up meat.”
“That’s very Catholic of you,” she said.
That stayed with me.
Was it Catholic of me? Something didn’t feel Catholic about it… or did it?
But of course, my extremely poster board child of atheism brother-in-law could figure out what wasn’t Catholic about it. When I chatted with him that evening he said, “Yes, Kara. Spend all your money before Lent so that maybe you spend even more shopping than you would have if you weren’t giving it up for Lent.”
Now, he has a point, I see this. I may have been buying a few extra things before Lent started and, since he has no faith in me whatsoever, he was hinting that I would go right back to my scary shopping habits right after Lent. ALL valid.
My brother-in-law does know me well, but when I say we are opposites, I ain’t kidding, baby.
So if you know me, and if you don’t, I’ll let you in on a little secret—I have an insane love for Jesus. And beyond that, I do anything I set my mind to, including eating tuna fish for a week straight—weird college bet. Side note: I rarely eat tuna now. But that’s neither here nor there…
Anyway, these conversations got me thinking about what it really means to be a Catholic and participate in the Lent season. And what it means to take those considerations and actions beyond the season and into our daily practices.
I want to invite you all (Catholic or not) to join me this season, to use this time to challenge yourself and to grow as one end turns into the next beginning.