This is going to be a rant. You’ve been warned. 😉
Lent is a time to prepare for Easter. A time of fasting, praying, alms giving, and sacrifice. A time to step back, look at our loves and see where we can improve. A time to focus on our relationship with Jesus in a more intense way.
We (Catholics) eat meatless meals on Friday and Ash Wednesday as a form of penance. I try and make something simple, without spices or seasoning because I just don’t feel like eating salmon, shrimp, or our favourite lentil soup is any sort of sacrifice. The first year we were married I made that lentil soup on Ash Wednesday and we both loved it!
I’ll never forget being at a friend’s one year, her family always has lentil soup for Ash Wednesday but they add a few tablespoons of vinegar to it, but this particular year there was a misunderstanding and 1/4 cup of vinegar was added! The soup was still edible but it definitely wasn’t enjoyable! I now hold that to be my goal for meals on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
It is definitely a struggle finding good meals for Fridays during Lent. Often we will have a can of soup and dry toast, or plain rice and plain chicken (no spices or condiments). It has also been a challenge for me personally because I have been either pregnant or nursing every Lent since we got married. I used to use this as an excuse as to why I couldn’t fast but a good friend showed me what a cop out that was. I can’t fast in the traditional way but there are many other ways I can.
A lot of people give something up for Lent as an added sacrifice. Along the same lines as meals though, it isn’t much of a sacrifice if you give up one thing only to find something better to replace it with. For example giving up cream and sugar in your coffee only to find a herbal tea that you enjoy more anyway, or giving up facebook only to spend more time reading blogs (these examples are from a forum I read). I have definitely been guilty of this in the past, giving up chocolate or candy only to eat more salty snacks… not much spiritual growth there….
This year we are trying hard to be very purposeful about our Lenten sacrifices. We are looking for things we love and things that will be difficult to give up and are trying to replace them with things that will bring our family closer to God. It is our most ambitious Lent yet but we’re confident that God will bless our efforts.
Just needed to get that off my chest. I think I read a few too many threads on Lent. This really wasn’t directed at anyone, obviously everyone’s family is different and everyone has different ideas of sacrifice and that’s great, they should do what works for them. This is just my opinion… after all it is my blog 😉