We’re halfway through Lent so time for a look at how things are going. In general, I’m doing not too badly but there have been some hiccups. My personal decision to abstain from alcohol and tobacco for this period is on track, and I am seeing some benefits from being off the booze with much better sleep and a lack of any lethargy when waking.
Fasting is also generally going well. I am attempting to have just one meal per day which most days I am adhering to. I tend to have the meal in the middle of the day as this both gives me energy for the afternoon as well as ensuring that I do not go to bed with any undigested food in my system. My one stumbling block was yesterday, which perhaps is the motivation for me to write this post.
I was happy to host a good friend for two nights but this led me to neglect the Saturday Lenten command to abstain from meat and to have just a single meal. I was able to hold to the Friday abstention where I cooked a vegetarian meal for dinner for us both, but Saturday ended up being two meals and both including meat. The lunch could possibly be excused but the dinner meal of meat was pure folly on my part due to a resignation along the lines of, “well, I’ve buggered this up already today so I may as well do it good and proper.”
Today I am fasting all day as a means of penance and I will confess this sin next week at my fortnightly mass. But I note it here so as to be both honest with my readers but to also let you know that I am no superman who goes about Lent with a casual ease.
Everyone in the area who knows me knows that I am doing my best to observe the Lenten period faithfully in this way. I make no secret of it. Why should I? Lent is a time for joy in being able to devote oneself to God, a humbling of our physical natures in order to grow in the spiritual sense. I would no more keep this a secret than I would hide the fact of getting married as an example. And in being open about my Lent observance I hope to perhaps prod others to examine their own consciences on this matter. After all, I live in a Catholic country; Lent should be on everyone’s mind at this time.
I seek to normalise a devotion to God through humbly following the sacrifices during Lent. It is the Great Fast, not the ‘average fast’, so we need to strive to do our very best and go beyond ourselves in this time. Who knows what God has in store for me? Perhaps this is my last Lent on earth. Best to make the most of it.
Via the always erudite Harvey Millican I discovered the holy men of St. Michael’s Abbey and their efforts to best observe the period of Lent which is wonderfully demonstrated in this short video.
As you can see I have lifted the title of this post from their piece, but I do so with full attribution and only in a sense of acknowledgement of how apt this title is. It certainly inspired me; the great fast, to be followed by the great feast. We still have three weeks of Lent to conquer. Let us do so with great joy and determination to grow closer to God in the most humble manner possible.
A joyful Sunday to you all.
Originally published on Sunday, March 12 at Pushing Rubber Downhill. You can purchase Adam’s books here.