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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Planning Ahead

Ordinary Time is almost at an end. We are about to begin my favorite time of year, short of Advent and Christmas. Lent begins next Wednesday, one week from today.

It is Wednesday, isn't it? Ordinary Time is so ordinary, sometimes I lose track. Ever do that? Go through one whole day thinking it's a different day and become all discombobulated when you finally realize you're on the wrong day? Sometimes it's just one little trigger that will set you off. Somebody makes spaghetti on Tuesday instead of Spaghetti Wednesday and then all day Wednesday you think it's Thursday because you had your Wednesday spaghetti on Tuesday. I just hope I manage to show up at school on Friday and not stay home because I think it's Saturday.

Hi Sister, even though it's still a couple of weeks away I have a lent question for you. I am 16 weeks pregnant and I think the catechism says that pregnant women are exempted from the obligation to fast on Ash Wednesday. I was wondering if that was true, could you recommend any other type of fasting or penance that doesn't involve food or anything too physical which could put stress on my baby.


You have come to the right place!

First, let's remember why we fast on Ash Wednesday, all the Fridays and do penance in general, during Lent. We do it to align ourselves with Jesus' Suffering.

Suffering isn't all about food. It's just what the Church picked out for us to do because everybody eats. The Church couldn't very well say, "Give up your fun tennis game with that other couple that you do every Friday for Lent." Everybody doesn't play tennis.

But everybody eats. Which reminds me. If you are trying to lose weight or stop smoking, do it on your own time. Lent isn't about self improvement.

Well....it is....but not like that. I hope everyone can see the difference.

So what can you do instead of fasting?

1. Get up an hour earlier and clean your house the way St. Therese the Little Flower would do it, as if you were doing it because Jesus was coming over.

2. Offer up your morning sickness to the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

3. Wear an uncomfortable shirt all day. Don't complain.

4. Don't complain about anything.

5. Have tea with some lonely old person.

6. Make your favorite dinner for everyone else in the family and you have a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich and milk.

7. Think of the one thing you love to do everyday, like talk on the phone or watch your soap opera, and don't do it. Pray a rosary instead.

8. Clean someone else's kitchen.

9. Wear an embarrassing hat.

10. Put a couple of dried peas in one of your shoes for the day.

I could go on and on. It's really easy once you get started.

I am a veritable font of Lenten advice. And I'm old school.

Sister Mary Martha, your blog and daily mass are the spiritual food I need to make it through my weeks. As a young college student, I'm looking for the patron saint of procrastinators. Even right now at 12:22AM I'm avoiding my research paper that's due in a few hours! Is there any saint who can help me rid my terrible habit?


Mama Kitty said...

Oh my goodness. I should comment on the content of your post. . . but I am laughing too hard at the hat!

Diane said...

Sister Mary Martha - LOL! do you live a charmed life? not enough suffering, sorrow, or humiliation of your own that you would consider putting peas in your shoes or wearing an embarrassing hat? I don't know anyone in that position, however I do know people who look for opportunities to turn the ordinary into an offering without drawing attention to themselves. :) Same goes for eating the pbj when everyone else is eating your favorite meal. It's a little bit in the spotlight, don'tcha think? However, 'Don't complain' works no matter what sacrifice you choose. LOL, I hope those peas don't end up in the soup after you've walked on them all day.

And, no disrespect intended but I disagree about losing weight or quitting smoking not being suitable sacrifice. I think if I need to lose weight or follow a special diet, I can offer the struggle/suffering of it to God, regardless of the time of year. For some people these things can be unbelievably challenging.

And I loved the Feast/Fast list from the previous post you referred to. I kept it pinned to my bulletin board for frequent reference when I worked with engineers and detailers. These were no small suggestions in that particular environment. I think it's a really good reminder that the end result of all of this is that it's supposed to help us to let go of attachments so we can love God more completely, which usually translates into our relationship with others in some way.

Nun of a Kind! said...

The hat through me off, too! Love the post...checked back at the "old school" reference. A great reminder of what lenten practices to uphold....after "Ash Wednesday"....if we can keep our days straight!

mph said...

Oh dear. Reading over recent posts and their linked posts, I see that anger is a sin. To me that seems like having a sense of smell is a sin. Is anger something you can help feeling? I know you can manage it or suppress it (with difficulty in my case) but I don't see how it's possible not to feel it sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is very informative and refreshing to read, thanks for doing it. I am currently doing exercise and trying to get into the best shape of my life. I am doing a great job so far, but I want to also ask for some divine assistance from a saint to help me in this journey. I looked all over the place for the patron saint of exercise and I cannot seem to find one. Could you please tell me who it is?

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

mph --
Wrath is a sin. It tends to be a matter of enjoying your anger, and looking for reasons to be angry.

Righteous indignation is more a matter of coming across something condemned by God, and making a fuss about it.

mph said...

Arkanabar, thanks again. Does this mean that me getting angry about someone intentionally scratching my door again and again (I have to keep repainting bits) and intentionally scratching my car is a sin? It's probably not something that God's terribly worried about but it irritates me no end.

Vanessa G. (Roxie) said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha,

Is plastic surgery a sin? I am considering rhinoplasty in the near future but keep going back and forth thinking "well, this is the nose and face god gave me and I should just learn to love and accept it." It's purely for aesthetic reasons not health reasons. I do consider myself a very devout/traditional catholic and good giving person. But this has always bothered me. The only thing detering me from it, is that I think it might be against the faith. Any insight?