We have had quite a few questions about giving up something for Lent so let's dive in.
One reader asks if she should give up her favorite hobby for Lent.
I think she should think that one over carefully. It might be a great penance for her, but what will her family look like after their heads are all bitten off? Just asking.
Another reader wonders about cranberry sauce. It seems her young daughter particularly enjoys that canned jelly kind that makes a sound like "FOT!" as it exits the can. This mother only serves this treat once a week, so she is wondering if she just shouldn't serve it at all to go easy on the poor girl, or what.
I say, serve it every day. Lent happens every day during Lent. And while you're at it, make the whole family watch that stuff come out of the can. That should be good to free some souls from Purgatory and bring everyone closer to Jesus.
And speaking of Lent happening every day, we've had a small discussion about taking Sunday's off of whatever our Lenten sacrifices turn out to be. You can take Sunday's off, as someone mentioned, because Sunday is always a feast day.
But I wouldn't do it. That just seems to me that you are skating out on a technicality. Just like every day during Lent is Lenten, every candle on the Lenten Wreath of Sundays is purple, except for that one pink one on Laetare Sunday ('laetare' means 'rejoice' and is a foreshadowing of the joy to come). You can take that Sunday off. Otherwise, stick to your suffering.
One reader is considering giving up her 'me' time for Lent. I didn't realize Catholics had any 'me' time that didn't involve prayer and/or fasting. Live and learn. I guess Jesus had some 'me' time out in the desert, but Satan showed up and ruined it. Right during His bubble bath.
I also have to make a clarification to my rule of thumb, the 'besides' factor, as one reader seems confused:
Everything I can think of has an "and besides" next to it. Sometimes, the "and besides" is something like, "it will bring me closer to Jesus" so I figure those types of things to give up would be OK.
Bringing you closer to Jesus is not a "besides factor". It is the whole factor. Lent is our opportunity to walk a mile in Jesus feet'. (I don't think He wore shoes. I know He is often depicted in sandals but He admonished His disciples to 'take no shoes'. I also imagine they took no cranberry sauce, canned or otherwise.) Not Jesus' everyday feet. His feet on the way to the cross. We are trying to identify with Jesus' suffering.
Which brings me to that LIST (you'll have to look in the comments section), which just made my head spin. Reverse Lent: topic for tomorrow.