Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Happy Lent everyone. Personally, I dislike Lent. That whole self-denial thing doesn't go over very well with me. (Yesterday A told me that he has no favorite liturgical season because none of them makes sense without all the others. Therefore he doesn't separate them like that. My response: can't you be like normal people and say Easter because you like the Exsultet or Christmas because you like the carols or something? He just laughed. Normal isn't really A's style, and I mean that as a compliment.)

Disclaimer: I'm about to tell everyone what I'm doing for Lent/Ash Wednesday. I don't mean this a la hypocrites and Pharisees. It's a reminder to myself and hopefully inspiration for others. (Not that I think my resolutions are that great.)

I'm trying something new for fasting today, and that is literally fasting. As in, I haven't eaten anything yet today and I'm not planning on eating lunch. We'll see what happens about dinner--I'm open to the possibility that I may have to eat something, but if I do, it will be small, and if possible, I'm not eating anything today. (This might be stupid--I donated blood yesterday....) The reason why I'm doing this is because the two small meals and one normal meal route doesn't inconvenience me that much (I don't have very good hunger signals, so being somewhat hungry all day long isn't really distinguishable from being sick or being tired). Also, I get so bogged down in the details (how many apples are equal to one piece of toast?) that I am not focusing on anything spiritual at all. I'm hoping this method will be more of a sacrifice and more spiritually successful.

Anyway, here are my resolutions:
  • Prayer: Read the Bible regularly (as in, every day). Pray the Rosary regularly (as in, every day). Neither of these is something I currently do (even if regularly is not defined as every day), which I know is bad. This is not allowed to replace the Liturgy of the Hours or daily Mass.
  • Fasting: No dessert! Yesterday's homily (Father V) was about choosing something that would make you a better Christian, rather than using Lent as an excuse to start a diet. Which I totally agree with (although I did give up biting my nails one year...). That said, I think a) there is spiritual benefit in self-denial, and I need to be better at saying no to temptation (I like sugar :( ); and b) sugar is in some indirect way a spiritual problem for me. Too much sugar --> depressive mood/depressive episodes --> doubt/despair. Not really sure how the science of that works, but I'm pretty sure it's true.
  • Almsgiving: $5/week to Reece's Rainbow. This probably isn't enough, but I have no idea how to choose an appropriate amount. There's nothing that I can think of to give up and save the money from--living on campus means I spend almost no actual money. Also this will probably be one lump sum because I don't have Paypal or a credit card, so I'll just mail a check.
  • Not sure how to categorize: Be more charitable towards B. I realize this breaks most of the cardinal rules of resolution making (hard to measure, no clear definition of success, etc.), but it really needs to be on here. (I told this resolution to A and he said, "Yeah, that's a good idea.") This is one of the areas in my life that I'm struggling most with at the moment. It's certainly my biggest interpersonal problem right now. So, stop being critical, stop making negative predictions, assume good motivations, and stop taking the things he does personally. (This I think is the root of the problem; perhaps I'll post on this later.) Thanks Father V for the idea of giving up a negative character trait!

It will be challenging to do all of these. So, while I think I can and should accomplish them all, I'm deciding in advance that I'm not going to tear myself apart if I don't. That's not meant in a get-out-of-jail-free card way, but rather in the way where I accept that I'm not perfect and am not overly critical of myself. (Another weakness of mine!) As in, if I miss my Bible reading, I'll feel bad, and be sorry, and ask for forgiveness, but three days later I will not be still thinking that I'm a terrible person who does not love God and is therefore damned for all eternity. (Sadly, this really isn't that much of an exaggeration as to a possible trajectory of thought.)

Yesterday I attended the Last Alleluia and Lenten Lamentations in A's dorm. I liked them very much. There are so many interesting liturgies in the Catholic Church. Speaking of which, I don't think I'll be getting to Mass until 10pm. Sadness. I like walking around all day with ashes on my head. But I have class at 11:30 and 12:10, and 5:15 won't be over before a meeting at 6, and I have to do something from 9 to 10 (which I could skip out of early to go to 10pm Mass). Actually, I just remembered a 4:45 Mass, so maybe I'll go to that.

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