Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday & Lent

One of the things I really love about being Catholic is the emphasis the Church places on Lent. I think it's wonderful to think of the days leading up to Easter as a time to really reflect and prepare yourself for the celebration of the risen Lord on Easter Sunday.

I've always approached the whole "giving something up for Lent" thing as a way to become more of the person God wants me to be. In college, I figured that God wanted me to be a good student, so I sometimes gave up Facebook or other things that distracted me from studying. I've also given up things like soda or cookies... God wants me to be healthy and take care of myself! Some years I do something extra rather than giving something up (read my Bible more, pray the Rosary daily, etc.).

This year, I struggled with what to do for Lent. Law school is keeping me insanely busy, so adding something on to my daily routine just didn't seem feasible. I really feel like this whole law school thing is what God wants from me right now, so I think He'll understand if I'm reading my casebooks 24/7 and not getting in so much Bible time. I'm approaching all of the reading and studying as a method for me to glorify God... in my own weird little law school student way. :)

I did come up with two goals for Lent though. The first thing is that I'm giving up listening to music/radio in my car. Since I spend quite a bit of time driving to and from school in Houston traffic, this is going to give me a lot of silent time in the car. I figure I can use that time to pray, to plan my day so I feel less stressed when I arrive at school, to call family and friends that I don't see often, or to just reflect on God's plan for my life. All positive things! Plus, the morning radio shows that I listen to have been seriously going crazy with dirty jokes and stuff lately, and it would probably be good to just cut that out of my mornings. I already messed this one up when I got in the car and reflexively hit the radio button, but I realized it about three minutes later and turned it off!

The second thing that I'm doing is reading this little book:

We got it for free from church, and it's just two quick pages for each day, so I can definitely make time for it! They're just brief little devotions for Lent, and I think reading them each day will help me to appreciate the real meaning behind Lent and Easter.

Of course, we're also participating in the Church's fasting/abstinence guidelines. For those of you who don't know, this means that we won't eat meat on Fridays until Easter, and that we'll "fast" on Ash Wednesday (today) and Good Friday. "Fasting" in this case just means that you restrict your food intake to three meals per day (one full meal, and two smaller meals that together don't equal one full meal), and don't eat snacks in between meals. For example, today I ate a little bowl of cereal for breakfast and some cheese crackers for lunch (had to skip the free Chick-fil-A sandwiches we had at school!!), and we'll eat some sort of seafood meal tonight. Maybe free shrimp from Panda Express?

Feel free to click and print this - I got it in an email!

I always mess up the no-meat-on-Fridays thing at least once during Lent. I'm horrible at knowing which day of the week it is, and I just forget. Maybe this will be the year that I remember every week!

Tonight I get to go to Ash Wednesday service with my husband, which is something we've never been able to do before! After all those years of living in separate cities, it's really nice to finally be able to share things like this.

Do y'all have special goals for Lent? What are your plans?


  1. I gave up Facebook my Jr. year in college, sophomore year I went to all stations of the cross and mass each week at St. Joseph's in Bryan. Those really helped and were tricky with a busy schedule, but put things into perspective.

    This Lent I am going to read from the Bible at least 10-20 minutes a night.

  2. I love the traditions in the Catholic church as well. This year I'm aiming for more prayer and less tv/internet/caffeine.
    Hope you have a great Lenten season!

  3. I'm giving up complaining :) It's something I tend towards daily and I need to appreciate all the blessings I've been given every day!

    Also I'm reading the daily gospel reading and reflecting on it every day :)

    Happy Lent my sweet friend!

  4. Awe, you have a great goal :) I did good so far. I really dont know what to give up though.

  5. I always forget about which day it is too! Yesterday I went to lunch and ordered a chicken sandwich! Oops! I ended up getting it to-go and getting a cup of soup instead!