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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lental Soup

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.


Staying in Balance said...

Lenten Wreath of Sundays??

Anonymous said...

Sister, John the Baptist said he was unworthy to loosen Jesus' sandals.
You may have missed that one.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Maybe John the Baptist was speaking metaphorically.

There is an actual picture of a Lenten Wreath for you to view.

PraiseDivineMercy said...

Thanks for the answer sister. Thankfully, I live on my own now, so I won't be biting heads.
Naruto fillers just ended after a year of waiting too, so I can really offer it up. ^_^

I look forward to that article on reverse Lent. I have two pre-Lent syndromes:
1. The urge to enjoy the things I'll be giving up, sometimes to my detriment.
2. Realizing which things I really should be doing all year, and so having an early Lent in some respects.

Anonymous said...

Sister Mary Martha,
Might you consider marriage? I'm in love - you da bomb!

Sister Mary Martha said...

Lucy, I hope you're trying to match me up with some nice man you know....

...but I'm already spoken for.

cattiekit said...

Mystically married to Christ, y'know. All the way down to the invisible ring. ;>D

Fouquette Racing said...

I'm still confused on what to give up for lent....EVERYTHING has a beside's factor!

Pauli said...

Thanks, Sister. This is wonderful practical advice to clarify everyone's understanding of personal penance and mortification. I often wonder if some people should merely give up complaining about what they gave up, but that's between them and God.

Anonymous said...

We're not giving up, we're going to add. There's a lot of stress on my husband's shoulders right now. We're going to start praying together. For some reason it seems so scary. But it will be a good thing for us and Lent is a good time to start it.

Anonymous said...

Sister, do you happen to know if there is a patron Saint for people trying to fast? I have the toughest time fasting every Lent. I would like to try to fast throughout Lent. I could use the extra help.


Sister Mary Martha said...

If you're looking for a saint that can identify with fasting, pretend person, look no further than St. Catherine of Sienna who often subsisted only on the Host.

Anonymous said...

anonymous - my husband and I say the morning offering every am together before he leaves for work. It's been a nice little routine for us to start our day together with prayer but not burdensome.

For lent we're trying something a little different. I've picked something for each of the kids to do to make them leave their comfort zone - for my shy quiet teen I told her she had to start 3 conversations/day at school or home (she was aghast, but I'm sticking with it). For my 9 year old son I have assigned saying something nice to one of the females in the family ("you look nice in blue", or "how was school today?") and so on down the line for whatever is difficult for that person. I'm hoping it works out to be a good thing.

Kasia said...

Isn't "Reverse Lent" actually Heaven?

Kelly said...

So first you told that boring (to me) basketball story, and then you answer everyone's question but the "reverse Lent" question, which is the one that I was most wanting to read your answer to. I know, I'm offering it up . . .

cattiekit said...

About that "Reverse Lent" thing being Heaven:

You know, kasia - it just might be. :>D

Minus all the physical desires and earthly worries.

Hope to meet up with you there some day!

june cleaver said...

Sister, I read my daughter what you said about her cranberry sauce... because in this house, if Sister says it, it must be true! So we had cranberry sauce last night and my daughter even shllluppp'd it out of the can and served it to all. Such a good soul she is!